People often ask if my daughter is doing anything new. Well, a few days shy of 18 months, I can't think of any more major "firsts" she needs to accomplish. First roll over, first crawl, first steps, first major face plant and bloody nose, first teeth, first words, first dance moves, first poopy on the potty, all firmly in the rear view mirror. Yet, despite the absence of any major firsts, her capabilities are growing faster than ever, to the extent that I'm beginning to treat her like a toddler much more than a baby. Indeed, along those lines, I've decided that it is the time for the child to RESPECT MY AUTHORITUH! Battle lines are drawn daily, and the combat is often ferocious. Let's revisit a scene from the bathroom last night.
Daddy and Maya are hanging out at home by ourselves, and Maya excitedly announces the need for a visit to the potty. We hurriedly rush to the bathroom, get her up on her seat and await the fireworks. She then requests to be read a book out of her ample pile of bathroom literature. I begin picking up books, opening and beginning to read them to her, but she has her heart set on one particular book, and she denotes her displeasure with my choices by grabbing the books out of my hands and throwing them to the ground. Battle line, drawn. This aggression will not stand man. The expression on my face and the tone of my voice go dark. Deep intimidation mode baby. I seriously explain to her that this is no longer acceptable, and that "no thank you" is the only acceptable response if she wants a different book read. She averts her eyes to my ominous stare, and I move my face so close that she can't turn away. She responds by raising her right hand and bopping me on my nose. Extremely pleased with herself, she explodes into a giggling fit. I double down on the anger. I raise the volume of my voice and pelt her with a vigorous series of "NOs!!" and finger shakes. I win a brief moment of silence from her, after which she continues insisting on a book, obviously after her current favorite, a large picture book full of Mickey Mouse and friends doing various stuff. I grab hold of the book, begin to raise it, but instruct her that it's appropriate to say "please", and that I need to hear that word if she wants to be read the book. She stares at me, and for a moment she presses her lips smack together as if she's preparing to make the P sound, but then she backs off. "Out!!" she says, and slides herself off the potty, opting instead to grab the book by herself and plopping down on the bathroom floor to peruse it on her own.
I sat there in silence, thinking over the severity of my defeat, pondering future strategies, and reminding myself that it's but a minor battle in a multi-decade war to come. Then Maya looks at me from the floor, and with a hint of hostility and defiance still in her tiny voice, hands the book in my direction and exclaims "Peese!!".
You're god damned right, Peese.
Daddy 1, Maya 0.