I’ve spent some time here talking about how destructive Big Man can be. (If you didn’t know better, you might even have thought it was complaining.) It’s only fair I spend some time explaining how helpful Big Man can be. He’s a multi-faceted boy – a toddler for all seasons.
While it’s true that Big Man has spilled his share of juice and other sticky foods on the floor, he often makes a good faith effort to clean up after himself. He goes to the drawer of washcloths we keep for handling sticky boys, retrieves a dry cloth, and fervently attacks the spill. In fact, he mops his spill to an area of carpet twice the size of the original mess. Then, he dutifully returns the sticky cloth to the drawer, because that’s where it goes, and a boy should always put things back where he found them.
Big Man likes to alert his parents when the phone rings. He points at the phone and gives his distinctive alarm, “Dada! Dada!” If you make no move to answer it, because it’s a telemarketer, or more likely, you’ve forgotten what to do when the phone rings, he will climb up the chair and retrieve it for you, making every effort to press the TALK button before you get to him. He lives in undying hope he will eventually retrain you as to the appropriate actions to take in the face of a ringing phone.
Big Man likes to be sure Mommy and Daddy are fed on time. To that end, he reacts definitively to the microwave beeper. He is just tall enough to reach the button that pops open the door and stops the machine. He punches this button before the beeper has stopped sounding. Sometimes he punches it before the beeper has started, because Daddy is just too hungry to wait all that while for hot food when mostly thawed will do.
Big Man is in tune with sounds and their meanings. He knows the sound of the garage door opener likely means an absent parent has returned to the nest. He draws everyone’s attention to the sound with his “Dada! Dada!” warning. Even when the sound of the garage door opening means he’s found the spare opener remote and is pushing newly discovered buttons, he calls his family to investigate, because maybe, just maybe, he’s found a magic little box that brings sweet Mommy home whenever you push the button. Somebody tall enough to turn the door knob should go look in the garage to see how well this magic works.
It may have been disappointing to learn the garage door remote button didn’t bring Mommy home, but he soon got over it. After all, he’d found another button that made a distant yet familiar noise. That’s a good thing. When you are a toddler, people flood your world with impotent, toy buttons. Any day you discover a button whose pushing yields real world results is a good day.