A strange thing has started to happen. When I tell seasoned parents how old Nico is they say, “Oh, that’s such a good age.”
I can see how they’re right, but still the phrasing of it makes me pause–because the implication is that there are also really bad ages. And I start wondering what they are. 0-1 years, perhaps? Yes, they’re cute then, but they depend on you for EVERYTHING and they don’t let you sleep a wink. Then maybe the Terrible Twos. And after that? I’m not quite sure, though I get this feeling that there is an age in which kids suddenly become independent and that this might be hard for some parents. So, maybe 10?
Obviously the “really good age” evaluation depends on the parent. Those that prefer a more independent kid might think 16 is a really good age. Whereas those who have dreamed of having a baby to hold their whole lives would mark down newborns as the best age. Those who never wanted to have kids in the first place might say 25 is the best age.
So I’m curious about all you parents out there, what do you think constitutes a “really good age”?
I’ll tell you that the age Nico’s at now is pretty sweet–and definitely my favorite so far. She still gets whiny and needy from time to time, but she’s becoming increasingly independent and curious about the world. Even better, she now has the motor skills and is increasingly developing the cognitive skills to let her explore it.
Let me just give you a few examples of some things she does that crack me up:
1. The other day she came home from daycare and while Marta and I were talking in the kitchen she opened the pantry, pulled out the broom, which is like three times her height, and started “sweeping” the kitchen floor.
2. She just this week started to try to repeat any new or interesting word we say. She stumbled her way through arándano this morning (Spanish for blueberry) and has also tried with some success to tackle hipopótamo (hippopotamus). When I give Finn commands she repeats the words in the same stern voice: Sit! Out!
3. She also invents replacement for words she can’t yet pronounce, which is perhaps my favorite thing she does. We all know about this tendency in kids (my nickname in my family is Ro-Ro because my sister couldn’t pronounce Sarah), but watching it evolve is both fascinating and funny. It’s like partaking in the construction of a new language and then knowing that only a few people (you, your partner, your child and maybe some child care providers) will understand it. So I know that squirrels are “dilla” short of the Spanish ardilla and that Finn is Wee-Wee, based on the fact that I often call him Finny. but the rest of you probably just think she’s talking gibberish.
4. She’s also started to count. If you ask her how old she is in Spanish (cuantos años tienes?) she get’s super excited, thrusts a finger forward and says “UNO!” If you ask her how many pies (feet) she has, she looks down at them and counts, Uno, Dos! Here is a video Marta took, where you can see she’s already anticipated the question (because we thought it was so funny that we kept asking her it).
5. She has fallen in love with books, which she insists on calling by their English name (“Bu”). And will read a book while being changed, while in the car and even while walking. This morning she followed Marta out of the house holding up a book about the circus in front of her. Granted, as a five year old pointed out recently while in our car “she’s not really reading that book.” But she’s pretending to, which is even funnier.
6. She’s begun to try out different facial expressions. One of them is a “Oh my gosh I’m surprised” look in which she opens her eyes and then Os her mouth. This comes out at random times, rarely when she’s actually surprised. We also have some cards someone gave us with the emotions on them and now if I say, “triste” (sad) she put on a pouty face and pretends to cry and if I say “feliz” she’ll first repeat the word and then smile a really fake American smile.
That’s about all I can remember at this point, but really it’s a new thing every day. Granted some of these new things are not so fun. She’s learned the word NO really well and uses it frequently. But as a whole “this age” (if that can every really encompass a particular moment in a child’s development) really ain’t all that bad.
But ask me agin in a week and I might tell you another story.