Friday, March 28, 2008

You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello

Mihret is slowly learning about saying “Hi!” and saying “Bye!” but has not yet managed to figure out when they apply, exactly.

People think the “Hi!” thing is great, as it tends to be enthusiastic, is often accompanied by a wave, and sometimes she even says it when it’s appropriate.

A couple of stories.

Morning are often kinda hurried in the house o’ Patterson. Mihret is usually pretty well behaved, but she’s still young enough that she needs a bottle first thing in the morning to fill her ragingly empty tummy. Attempts to dress her or change her diaper before she gets her morning dose o’ soy milk will end only in tears and screaming.

Since I’m currently the one who takes the baby to day care, I’ve developed a pattern.

Waken the baby, give her a bottle, and let her down it while I do thing like get her clothing out.

Sometimes I’m ready before she’s done drinking, in which case I’ll pick her up out of her crib and have daddy-daughter bonding time.

Sometimes she’s done drinking first, in which case she’ll usually stand up in her crib and watch me while I look for a pair of shoes that match the outfit I’ve chosen.

Recently, she got done before I did, and stood up in her crib, watching me intently.

Mihret: Hi!

Me: Good morning, sweetie.

Mihret: Hi!

Me: Hi!

Mihret: Hi!

Me: I can’t find a onsie that matches this outfit, honey, just hang on a second…

Mihret: Hi!

Me: Hi, honey. I just need to get some socks for you, and we’ll be ready.

Mihret: Hi! (Waves)

Me: I love you, Mihret.

Mihret: Hi!

Me: Okay, I’ve got all your clothing out and your clean diaper prepped. Are you ready to get dressed?

Mihret: Hi!

Me: We’ve got to teach you another word, punks.

Mihret: Hi!

And so on.

On the other side of the greeting equation is “Bye-bye!” which she learned a little bit more recently. There is also a waving component .

We’ve been practicing “Bye-bye!” whenever someone heads out the door, whether it’s Kara in the morning, or friends of ours who are visiting. I’ve also tried it as we’re leaving the day care (“Say bye-bye to all your friends!”).

Results vary, and sometimes, they’re just sorta flat-out goofy.

As seen in the following example.

Since I do the dropping off in the morning, Kara generally picks Mihret up from day care. But if I had to guess, I’d say that at least once a week some assignment or another causes a backup, and I end up being the one to retrieve the kiddo.

On this particular day, nothing was really out of the ordinary. I showed up, most of the other kids were gone, and day care worker who hangs out waiting for the parents to show up was rocking one of the baby-babies.

Mihret gave me her usual smile when I got there, then ran over and grabbed my legs, which I guess is what you do when you want to hug someone and your head doesn’t reach very far above their knee.

I picked her up, and we got her paperwork and her coat. Once her coat was on, I did my usual monologue – “Are you ready to go home and have some dinner? Say bye-bye to your friends.”

Mihret looked around and did a kinda-sorta wave at the other two kids.

“Say bye-bye!” I repeated.

“You know,” said the day care worker. “Today, I got into the room, and the first thing she did was look at me and say, ‘Bye-bye!’ And I went, ‘Bye-bye? What happened to hello?’”

I’ve had a similar issue with her choice of bye-byes. Mihret’s favorite time to say bye-bye is when I’m strapping her into her car seat.

As I’m buckling her in, roughly a third of the time she’ll wave at me and say, “Bye-bye!” And then I’m forced to say, “Daddy isn’t going bye-bye, sweetie. He’s going to the front seat so that he can drive.”

Which is usually met with another “Bye-bye!”

Maybe she just can’t wait until it’s her turn to drive.


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