The reality of being a dad has a way of completely upending your pre-parent expectations.
A few months ago, I wrote about looking forward to the “Rose Is Rose” portion of toddlerhood, in which my son would babble adorably and I’d be forced to puzzle out what he was saying. Like a sophisticated, more intelligent version of The Da Vinci Code (with much less Jesus but a much better vocabulary).
Unfortunately, it’s not difficult to decipher my sons favorite words, most of which revolve around refusing to eat things, refusing to do things and refusing to stop doing things. It’s not really that adorable.
The funny pages lied to me.
It was my fault for expecting answers from anything but “The Far Side”. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from my two years as a dad, it’s that no one has any answers. Leave your expectations at the door.
You may have noticed that I know longer post my series about deciphering my son’s baby talk. There are two reasons for this: 1) he began talking too much to bother and 2) as is vocabulary increased it was harder to differentiate between his sounds. In general it seemed small-time to focus on a few funny sounds when he was performing nonsensical, Bane-style soliloquies on an hourly basis. Plus, the fun was quickly being drained from the situation.
My son’s ongoing climb from silent to noisy and from babbler to Cicero (still pending…) is exciting (finally, we can almost kind of converse!) and definitely has its share of cuteness, lately there’s been a lot more confusion and conflict. And it’s a waste of a good opportunity, for both entertainment and education.
What I thought would be a cute little game of telephone has turned into a frustrating battle of wills. It’s either all too easy to understand him (his defiance is well-articulated), or it takes me longer to figure out what he’s saying than he has the patience to wait, which means tantrum time and more defiance. Which means I start saying words that will come back to haunt me later when I should be helping him learn words he can actually use.
The whole process makes me anxious about those days when he goes to school and I have to try and help him with his homework. I already know I’m no teacher, and if this experience is any indication, he is going to get frustrated at me when I get frustrated at not being able to help him with his math problems. I mean, it won’t be long til the reason I can’t understand him as less to do with enunciation and more to do with him just being smarter than me.
Thankfully, if he ever gets too big for his britches, I have plenty of pictures of him naked.