Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Paternal Pride

Pushing my buttons

I'm very proud of my little girl for being such a wonderful child, but
every now and then she does something that just really really causes
me to feel extra proud. I realized those things actually tend to fall
in the categories I write about here the most: Technology, Restaurants
and Games. Keep in mind, she's a one-year-old. These things that I
am so proud of may not sound so impressive, but for someone who can't
walk, talk or understand most of what you say, they're pretty cool.

First, the technology category. A couple of months ago, I was using
our TiVo to play music (using the "home media option"). My daughter
isn't allowed to watch TV yet, so any use of the television, even just
to play music, is very exciting. She eagerly wanted to play with the
remote, and the TiVo remote is a pretty robust device, so I
acquiesced. I gave it to her and she proceeded to press buttons, and
with very little help, figured out that the big yellow button pauses
and unpauses the music. She sat pausing and unpausing the music for
quite some time, rather satisfied with herself. There's something
very pleasing as a father to see a child barely 11 months old figure
out a piece of "grown-up" technology so quickly and adeptly.

Second, the restaurant category. She eats out very well. She is
usually quite well behaved and enjoys the different environments. One
restaurant we've taken her to several times is a favorite of ours,
MaryChung's. At our most recent visit, she rather insistently
wanted to have some of what we were having. While Dun Dun Noodles
seemed perhaps a bit too spicy for a one-year-old, we decided to have
her try some pan fried Peking Ravioli and Mongolian Beef. She loved
them. She ate a couple of ravs all by herself. When I was in college,
we went out to Mary's a lot, often in large groups. We always
ordered ravs. When preparing our order each person would
hold up a finger if they wanted an order of ravs (6) for themself or
hold up their finger, crooked, if they wanted a half-order (3) for
themself. It made counting the total number of rav orders to place
easy. It fills me with great pride that my daughter, still unable to
say much, is just about ready to participate in such a protocol. I
just have to teach her to hold her finger crooked when I say "Ravs?"

Finally, the games category. I don't want to inflict my hobbies on my
children, but at the same time, I'd be extremely pleased to be able to
share them with them. Further, I don't expect her to be able to play
games for quite some time. She is, after all, only one. But, being
who I am, I can't help but get games for her, in anticipation that
someday she will hopefully want to play them. Well, that day came a
lot sooner than I expected. We have for her several games, including
"Chutes and Ladders" and "Enchanted Forest". The other day, she was
playing and started reaching urgently toward the games shelf. I took
out Chutes and Ladders and I set it up. My little girl proceeded to
grab one of the pawns and tap it repeatedly on the board, in a line,
in much the way someone would who was counting out their moves with a
pawn on the board. She must have seen us do this, or it must be in
the genes, but I hadn't modeled the behavior for her immediately
before. On later occasions we "played" Enchanted Forest, dealing the
cards back and forth to one another. On another occasion, I got out
Chutes and Ladders, and just set the box next to her. She proceeded
to open the box, take out the board and pieces and spinner and play
with them. Wow. I must say, while moving Chutes and Ladders pawns
around randomly or dealing cards back and forth may not be "Euphrat &
Tigris", it really drives home the point: Games are often much more
about who you play them with.

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