Madison has reached that wonderful age where she parrots everything we say. A month shy of her second birthday, she has been a great source of entertainment as she has been a vocabulary sponge, starting with words like recyclables, quesadilla and octagon and working her way up to complex sentences with better structure than many of the ones her dad writes about the Packers.
She has also been a fabulous motivator for cutting back my profanity while behind the wheel of the family truckster, which is really the only place where I am prone to expletives.
But where she has been at her best has been with the catchphrases that Paula and I unwittingly use all the time. The two most frequent in my lexicon are Be careful! and What’s next?
Paula, meanwhile, is full of them. Our friends Angie and Will, for example, can thank Paula for their son’s first words, which were Oh jeez! – a phrase he heard so frequently from Paula that it beat out the traditional “Mama” and “Dada.”
The quote du jour from Maddie, meanwhile, is Something else. It took us awhile to figure out where it came from, only to realize it when she started trekking to the open pantry doors several times a day while repeating her new favorite phrase.
You see, Paula is fanatical about developing healthy eating habits for the girls, in part because she knows that my diet doesn’t exactly set a good example. Given free dietary reign as a kid, I seldom made healthy choices, and those bad decisions plague me to this day. The limited culinary options often available to sportswriters in press boxes, airports and late at night don’t help, either, although my New Year’s resolution is to break the cycle.
(For the record, I typed that last paragraph while, no lie, eating mini Chips Ahoy cookies at 12:32 a.m.)
In addition, Madison is more of a grazer than a big-meal eater – something I’m told is also not a bad thing, with the “six small meals” concept espoused by many a nutritionist – so during the course of a day, she could eat any of the following: Yogurt, organic chicken nuggets, baby food from a pouch, whole wheat snack sticks, Gerber puffs or yogurt melts, fresh fruit (apples, bananas top the list), whole grain macaroni and cheese, a granola bar … the list is endless.
Her beverage options are plentiful, too, from her soy milk (I’m the only lactose-tolerant person in my house) to her diluted fruit juices to flavored water to what she refers to as her “mocha,” a cup of milk with a tiny splash of either Hershey’s chocolate syrup or a flavored coffee creamer, which she insists on drinking from an adult coffee to-go cup.
As a result, we have created something of a monster when it comes to making choices. It doesn’t matter what snack or beverage she is enjoying at the time, all she wants is “something else.” Nothing specific, of course. Just “something else.”
That, of course, can be challenging during a two-hour car ride to or from Milwaukee, when your something elses are in short supply. And as you’ll see, it extends beyond food and to activities as well. Coloring book? Something else. Magna Doodle? Something else. Aqua Doodle? Something else. Sesame Street game on your iPod Touch? Something else.
She is, well, something else.
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