Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Yes, please.

Alternate title: Why My Child Screaming "LOWWWWWD!" While You Try to Eat Your Dinner is Actually Polite (And Why Did You Sit So Close to Us When There Are Plenty of Tables Open?*)

So, wee lil' Charlie had a handful of signs that she used before she could talk. Adorable little pudgy-fingered signs for things like more and milk and please.

Here's evidence from early April (over seven months ago!) of the unprompted "please," followed by evidence of why Charlie thinks she can have whatever she wants whenever she wants it. Good parenting in full effect, ya'll!

Yes, very practical and helpful and did I mention adorable? But she can say words now, and does. A lot. Except for please. That one's been a challenge.

If you prompt her to say please, she'll quickly rub her chest like any good little ASL student should. Great, but perhaps it's time to try saying things without our hands? No? Well, would you like Mommy to teach you some new sign language? Just pay attention in the car, Sweetheart, and you'll learn some new vocabulary words, too!

And thus began my brilliant quest to get my toddler to speak in three easy steps:
  1. I started with asking Charlie each time she signed please, to say it with her mouth instead. Genius! Except, what does my kiddo do? She's just moved her hand up from her chest and started rubbing her lips instead. (I'm not gonna lie, I actually think that's pretty smart. Again, the adorable... it's overflowing I tell you!)
  2. Though the mouth signing was cute, it wasn't exactly what I was going for. Up next, each time she signed, I'd respond with, "Say it out loud." To which she'd respond with "Loud." OK. Well, at least she's saying something, right?
  3. And the final phase: I tricked her! Ha, take that, Toddler! I got her to repeat after me by saying PLEASE! really, really loudly, and then please! really, really softly. And it worked! Sort of... I can get her to say it now, but it takes much cajoling, and I have to say it in a really exaggerated way first. Good thing I like speaking like a Muppet.
So, there you have it: How to almost get your toddler to say "please" in a way that everyone around them will understand. Almost.

Enter dinner last night and another proud parenting moment. After negotiating with Charlie to let us have something other than beans and rice, she agreed that a 'tato would be good. Off we went, happy to be one day into a short work week. Food was ordered, food was delivered to our table, Elmo was offered bites of potato. (This is the first time in a couple of weeks that Elmo has been invited to join us for an outing thanks to Charlie's on-going love of all things pig. He was really hungry.)

As we were winding down, Charlie decided she'd like some ice from Daddy's cup for dessert. (I know, we're spoiling her.) I, of course, prompted her to say please.

And then I watched her start to sign. But, but, BUT! She stopped mid-sign.

I could see the wheels turning in her brilliant little mind. Charlie knew that she was supposed to say please. She opened her mouth, I braced myself for a pride swell, and she said as clearly as she possibly could, with as much volume as she could muster:


Ah, manners.

*A woman came in toward the end of our meal and chose to seat herself at the booth right behind us. She even sat down in the seat that backed up to the seat Charlie and I were sharing. Huh? I didn't even try to keep the kid quiet because really? You picked your poison, lady.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


What’s this? A Blog post? From me?

I could go through the motions of trying to condense the last missing six months worth of life into one lil’ old update, but let’s be realistic here: it ain’t happening. I can’t. I won’t. Let’s not.

Instead, let’s jump right into how we’re Kopp-ing these days. PIG!

At some point in the last couple of weeks, Charlie dug up an old VHS copy of “Babe” at Gramma Kate’s house. Yes, much to Joe’s chagrin, I let Charlie watch TV. I try to make sure it’s moderately educational, or at least not full of quick edits and strobe lights, but I work from home in the afternoon. I either get an assist from a televised playmate, or I have to teach Charlie how to place media buys and edit e-newsletters, and frankly, her spelling is just terrible. (This would be the part where Joe would say that if I didn’t let her watch so much TV, that she’d be able to spell. Don’t be stoopid, Daddy.)

So, “Babe.” She loves that movie. I mean, she loves it. She goes to bed requesting “Pig,” and wakes up asking for it again. If you make the mistake of mentioning one of the animals in the movie, like say, a sheep (you’d be surprised how often sheep come up in conversation with a toddler), then she asks for it again. That poor old tape has been rewound so many times in the last week that I’m surprised it still plays at all.

But Grandma Vickie is here this week for a visit, and guess what she found at Target? Well, that would be “Babe” on DVD, of course! Charlie’s very own copy to keep at our house, where she now not only requests “Pig,” but will specify “Pig… DVD.”

And you know what makes watching “Babe” on DVD even better? Watching it with Babe! I’m sure that we’ll eventually have to add a tuft of hair to the top of this little guy’s head, but for now she loves him whole-heartedly. Thank you, Grandma Vickie for both the DVD and the softest little piggy friend ever!

Confession: On one (or five) of our viewings, I may have been overheard whispering to her that while some people eat pigs, Mommy and Charlie do not. See, I can do my own brainwashing, television or no.