Thursday, July 28, 2005

#58 - Doodle Blogging

Her most commonly used nickname is "Doodle." This is my youngest child, the last I will have sired in this life, and pound for pound has every bit as much personality as any of her predecessors.

The Woody Household is still on the Disabled List. Mrs. Woody continues to battle the remnants of her pneumonia. Today would have been a banner day - only one breathing treatment all day! - but she started the day with a nasty migraine. Jelly, still battling a feverish flu, has rallied to the point of not needing excessive naps to maintain her running dialogs. In fact, from the time she woke up - relatively bright eyed and bushy tailed at 6:00 in the morning - she has maintained her usual stream-of-semi-consciousness banter pretty much all day. She's still miserable, but she's more alert and I feel confident that this weekend will be better for both my females.

Then, undoubtedly, it'll be my turn.


Anyway, back to Doodle. The Doodle Woodyette is my "Iwannadoit" girl. "Daddy," she will announce, "I wanna open the car door!" This means not just being able (barely) to pull up on the door handle and pull it open. No, this means taking Daddy's key, inserting in the lock and turning it, then opening the door. Whereas my Jelly Woodyette is generally satisfied when she can open most doors without assistance, Doodle wants to understand how they open, and how they work, and why.

Daddy will be doing the evening dishes. "Daddy," comes the inevitable pronouncement, "I wanna help with the dishes." This does not mean putting one or two dishes in the dishwasher. This means getting a chair, pulling it up to the sink, helping Daddy to rinse the dishes, then helping Daddy to put them in the dishwasher, then (if she's still hovering around later) helping Daddy take the clean dishes out and put them away.

Laundry is another Doodle Hot-button. She knows there isn't enough room in our tiny laundry area for her to drag a chair in and help load the washing machine. But she sure can help push the clothes into the dryer and almost always volunteers to help Daddy do just that.

This also, of course, adds a few extra hours to Daddy's flow time, but it will prove invaluable a few years from now when these become her chores to perform.

Of course, my girls aren't without their weaknesses. Cleaning up after themselves is still a major hangup. Doodle also likes to use her "baby of the family" status to weasel out of chores she finds inconvenient. Like cleaning her room, for instance. She will start those crocodile tears flowing and begin a well-rehearsed meltdown that has exasperated fathers from the days of Adam ("I don't wanna be my brother's keeper! Daaaaaad! It's not faaaaaair!"). It doesn't stop until after Daddy has given explicit instructions on every step of the process through to completion. "See that blue Duplo? Put that in the Duplo bag! See those doll clothes? No, not those; those are dress-up clothes. We'll get to those later. There! Those doll clothes! Put those in the doll-clothes case! If you'd stop weeping, you could see what I'm talking about!"

This isn't to say that Jelly can't do (or hasn't done) the "Iwannadoit" routine, but Jelly moves in a different plane from her sister. At those points where their planes intersect, they are an awesome team. Even when their planes only move in tandem, they still complement each other nicely. Each has their own distinct and unique gifts and talents, but both are naturally loving and helpful. Jelly loves to share with everyone. Doodle loves to be the gofer. On the other hand, Doodle has already mastered at least the mechanics of brushing her own teeth, while Jelly still regards the toothbrush with the same enthusiasm one would demonstrate upon finding a dirty bomb in their sock drawer.

Today was Doodle's last day of swimming lessons for the current session. Next week she'll move up to Jelly's level for another two week course. But today was Certificate Day. Doodle now has a nice document stating that she can do a fairly sizeable litany of swimming skills, and it truly has been wonderful to watch her confidence grow. She can't wait for Daddy to take her to our park's pool so she can swim - without floaties! - and have Daddy help her practice her bobbing and kicking and "big arms." This will undoubtedly prompt Jelly to show how well she can swim. Daddy will just float in the water like an oversized dumpling while his two daughters swim circles around him.

"Hey!" I'll say. "I wanna swim like that!"

No comments: