Zalaznick: A 1-year-old turns 15 overnight
Suddenly, the 1-year-old seems to have turned into a teenager. Its not because of a growth spurt or that shes into wearing ultra-tight jeans, its that she has a two-week-old baby sister. Compared to the newborn, the toddler seems as competent as a college student. That may not be saying much, but the toddler can sort of use a spoon. How many college freshman can handle utensils most mornings? With the newborn wiggling and drooling on the couch, conversations with the toddler suddenly seem rich and enlightening. Hey, kiddo, would you like some breakfast?Badda doo beeee, faffle. Gee. Thats an interesting take on the state of the modern waffle. Gaaaaaloolooo yeeyee, Elmo. You mean advancements in culinary technology now allow a waffle to be cut into strips and dipped in yogurt for a fulfilling breakfast while watching Elmos World over and over?See? She also talks like a college student. Dahdoo doodah dahdoo doodah gwuuuh, Daddy.Oh! Now I see what youre trying to express your thoughts about the human condition by smearing yogurt all over the wall!Ahlll done! Down! Down! Down!Great artists, whether working in watercolor, acrylics or dairy products, are notoriously temperamental. And while the newborn masters skills like looking around and yawning, the toddler is practically a decathlete: she can swim (sort of), chase balloons, get pulled in a sled, and tossed in the air, run into walls, eat crayons, paint the floor with cottage cheese, knock down Lego towers, shake newspapers and bounce on a trampoline. While the newborn wont be learning to play any instruments for a long time, the toddler can play the guitar. Granted, her style can best be described as avant-garde or maybe primal. You should hear her pounding on the strings and squealing, and youre bound to hear traces of Purple Haze and Hey Jude. Its either that or shes asking to have her diaper changed. The toddler also has a favorite song and its sophisticated. She can tolerate the Itsy-Bitsy Spider, Ring Around the Rosie and other shallow kids nonsense, but what really gets her going (to sleep) is Simon & Garfunkels The Boxer.Even Paul Simon has admitted its one of his deeper songs, and the toddler loves to sing the most profound verse: Lai lai lai lai lai lai she shrieks gleefully, ordering daddy to sing it for the 15th time in a row. Dont you want to hear daddy sing Mr. Tambourine Man or Heart of Gold. Those are also pretty Lai lai lai lai lai lai!Yes, maam. Daddy may bring home the diaper and sippy-cup money, but its clear who wears the pants or who likes to run around without pants in the family. And hey, thats where the newborn may have outsmarted the toddler. By being completely helpless instead of mostly helpless the newborn may now be in charge.Call it a coup dga ga. By cleverly refusing to sleep through the night and cleverly requiring feedings every few hours, the newborn ruthlessly dictates mommys and daddys sleeping habits, dinner schedule and alone time. The silly toddler has been tricked into sleeping from about 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. Shes been bamboozled into trying to feed and hydrate herself. Shes been hoodwinked into playing by herself for half-hours on end! Next, shell be grabbing the car keys and driving over to City Market when we run out of string cheese and frozen blueberries. Question to the police: Does a toddler have to be in a car seat when shes driving?But forget the toddlers strategic mistakes how stupid are we adults for falling for this scam of self-sufficiency when we once had it so good: Sure, my job is fulfilling, but really, who wouldnt rather just lay around in a fleece body suit staring at the patterns on the couch? Assistant Managing Editor Matt Zalaznick can be reached at 748-2926, or email@example.com.