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If I could sit Caira down and ask her to list what her favourite things about us are, I think that she would write
- Daddy says yes
on my first line, whereas Mariah’s first line might start with
- Mummy is mummy
No more need be said. Mummy is the one you curl up against to sleep, who kisses your knee better when you scrape it and generally makes sure you remain healthy, fed and clothed. Daddy says yes. Want to go on the higher slide? Want a treat when mummy’s not looking? That’s my department: The Ministry of Treats and Playtime. Every place has its person and every person has their place, but I still wrestle with the question of whether we are doing a good job or not.
Are we? Little sleep yields stark questions.
For half of the week we both work, which means getting up at 5 o’clock in the morning, dressing Caira and bringing her to her grandparents home where she gets to revel in the sheer joy of being a two-year old for ten to twelve straight hours. When we pick her up at six in the evening we’re all tired and after we get home we watch TV, play with the animals, have dinner and rot in front of our computers. On Thursday and Fridays Mariah usually takes Caira out to go shopping and to go to parks. On Saturdays her grandparents usually ninja her away again (although for this weekend everyone is off to California) and Sundays are usually spent sitting around the house and trying to unwind.
Is that enough? She has a fierce, bright intellect which picks up everything she sees, analyzes it and then applies it in context. When Mariah gave her a drink last Sunday which was watered down because the ice melted, Caira set it aside, looked straight at my wife and said, ”this is practically water.” She can manage recognize abstract concepts. When Mariah and I play World of Warcraft, Caira is right there, sitting with us, chatting about Mummy and Daddy Cow killing monsters and interacting with our avatars. She knows it’s us and she already wants to play with us. Caira can moo-ve my character (heh). She can read a few scattered words already; the titles of her favourite TV shows, labels on boxes and a few book covers and I feel that early exposure to computers will be extremely beneficial to her reading and comprehension skills down the road.
So Caira’s learning. Is she happy? Her new favourite comes from World of Warcraft: My character taking a shrink potion and swift run potion and zipping about the screen as a knee-high Tauren. You should hear her laugh and snort when I do this. She loves to wrestle with me, jump on mummy hold the cats. We watch her shows with her, sit down with her when she reads her books and inform her as best we can about anything she cares to ask about. How many two year olds understand lolcat captions, I ask of you?
I feel we could do a lot better at weekends; set a schedule of activities for her and keep to it, but time and money constrain us, which isn’t so good.
We make do, on the whole. I’ll let Caira decide if we’re doing well or not, but she’s happy and I’ll put it up as a win for now.