Friday, January 7, 2011

Snapshot Stories on the Brink of Two

I have the evening to myself. Geoff is out with friends, and my cold is nasty enough to scare even my closest friends away. So, with the whir of the dishwasher in the background, and a slight throbbing in my head, it's prime time to make up for stories untold. There are SO many things that Kaya says and does that are SO sweet, so funny, unique, or crazy that if I don't mention them now, they might not get mentioned at all...

I think I've written in the past about how Kaya, in response to my asking her if she wanted her door open or closed, told me she wanted her door "zu" (closed). Her response always left me a little surprised, especially before I plugged in the Santa-light a few weeks ago. What kind of almost-two-year old wants to sleep in a completely black room with no audible connection to the rest of the family? Ours, apparently.

Tonight, as usual, I asked her the same question, and this time, she responded that she wanted the door "auf". That's more like it, I thought. I can make sense of that. As I was reading a message on my phone, however, I noticed how loud the dishwasher was being, and began to wonder if, perhaps, something was loose that needed some attention. Distracted by my internal dialogue, it took me a moment to decipher the word coming from Kaya's room, over and over. After the 3rd or 4th utterance, I clearly understood the word "zu", and asked her doubtfully from my chair, "Willst du deine Tuer zu?" (Do you want your door closed?)
"Yeeeah," she responded, in her sweet, little tone that I so dearly love.

I'm so tempted to make meaning out of this. SO tempted to label her as someone who knows what she wants and knows how to get it. SO tempted to make some comment about how our daughter can't sleep if there's too much noise happening in the background. So tempted to take two incidents, add a few more to the mix, and make a blanket statement about who Kaya is.

But I won't.
It's easy enough to resist the temptation while my brain is at peace.
(If you're confused about this whole meaning-making thought of mine, have a looksie at this.)

I was reminded, as I mentioned her sweet little "yeeah", of this video that I made of Kaya responding to Geoff while he told her a bed-time story in San Diego at my Dad's. I love how she fake-laughs when he talks about laughing, and how she adds her "hey, man," that Geoff taught her a few weeks prior. I think she only does it once or twice in this video, but this is the YEAH that I wrote about on our camping trip that she uses when responding to Geoff and his story-telling:

More recently, Kaya has been 'experimenting' with throwing things and dumping water in places where I'd much rather have dry space, like the floor and the table. I'm still working on staying 'calm' when it happens...Geoff, on the other hand, continues to be masterful at Zen and the Art of Reacting to Toddlers (I married him for a reason!). Tonight, for example, Kaya took a piece of chicken and chucked it across the room. "Kaya," Geoff said, "we don't throw food. You can throw balls, though." And with that, she sauntered off to her room to find a few balls that she then began to throw around the house with Geoff as her biggest cheerleader. When I came out to the table, and Geoff was sharing this story with me, Kaya told me that we "Essen nicht werfen" (don't throw food), and then she quickly returned with her push-toy, saying "staubsaugen" as she walked to and fro near her chicken on the floor. What's that, Geoff asked me, with a strange look on his face? 'Staubsaugen' means vacuum, I told him. She's cleaning up her mess.

Earlier this evening, as I told her to bring me the mug of pencils from her table, a few colors fell on the kitchen floor as she was walking back to the couch. "Clean-it-up," she said, as soon as they fell out, and patiently bent over to pick up ALL the pencils and return them to the mug.

When she spilled her cheerios at the table, it was a similar scenario. "Need a towl," she said, heading to the kitchen, seemingly unaffected by my impatience with the life at the moment. As I brought a towel back, she said, "Mama clean-it-up." Last week, and from time to time this week, she will use the term "aufrauemen" owf-roymen (to clean up), and often sings the Aufrauem-song when she is finished with her toys and wants to put them away.

There are a couple Aufrauemlieder that we sing, this one is my favorite, though, because it's sung to the tune of Mary Had a little Lamb:
Alle koennen aufraeumen, aufraeumen, aufrauemen
Alle koennen aufraemen bis alles sauber ist.

This is the one we sing at our playgroup at the German American School on Weds:
Aufräumen, aufräumen, es ist höchste Zeit.
Alle schnell mit angefasst, dann ist's auch schnell vorbei.

Oh yeah! And the elefant song, too! Last week, I busted out a song that I sung a few times for her but didn't know well enough to remember the words. Wanting to learn the song well, and make it stick, I added some hand-motions, which was a clear winner for Kaya--for the past two days, she's been going around the house requesting the "Owfantenweed" (Elefantenlied), eager for me to sing it over and over and over again. She's begun to sing along, too, especially the part that talks about the elefant wanting out of the house:

Elefant, fant, fant, kommt gerannt, rannt, rannt, (making running motion with arms)
mit dem langen, langen, langen Ruessel. (make like playing a trombone with your arm)
Will heraus, aus, aus, aus dem Haus, Haus, Haus (point away from you, 6x)
aber hat ja, hat ja, hat ja keinen Schluessel. (shake your finger, unlock the door)
Armer Elefant, bist so weit gerannt, (play the air violin, run with arms)
gebe ich dir dafuer ein Zuckerstueck von mir, (pretend to give s.thing)
aber bleib, bleib, bleib, aber bleib, bieib, bleib, (shake your finger)
aber bleib, bleib, bleib schoen hier! (point down at the ground on HIER)

And for those non-Germaners out there:
Elefant, fant, fant, comes running, running running
with the long, long, long trunk.
Wants out, out, out of the house, house, house
but has no, has no, has no, has no key.
Poor Elefant, you ran so far,
I'll give you thus a lollipop from me
but stay, stay, stay, but stay, stay, stay (Dave Matthew's song?)
stay, stay, stay right here!

I wonder, now that I've sung this song a million times, if this song was written about the cruelty of zoos?

There are other German phrases that are coming to my mind that she's been using a lot lately. Kaya can nearly go down the stairs by herself. She still holds one of my hands with one of hers, but there is hardly any pressure on my hand in comparison to what there has been over the past few months (for a long time, even after she could walk, I would carry her down the 17 stairs in front of our house because it was so much faster...I finally 'forced' myself to slow down and let her experience the stairs for herself, at her pace). Anyway, I've been so excited at the progress that she's making (it's really fun (and scary, too!) to imagine her being able to go down the stairs alone), that, to share my excitement, I often say to her, "Du machst das fast alleine!" (You're almost doing it alone!) The other day, as we were on the 3rd step, she said with eagerness, "Fast aweinah, fast aweinah!"

Similarly, when we're in the car, and we're almost there, I often tell her just that: "Wir sind fast da..." or "Wir sind fast zu Hause" (We're almost home). A few days ago, as we were leaving the house, she said, "Fast zu Hause." I had to smile. She was right. We were almost home, in a backwards kind of sense. Who says you have to live life in the direction that we've been living it? Maybe she knows something that most of us don't...


  1. I SO appreciate the German 'songs' (if you can call them that) especially when you describe the tune. Thank you! :)

  2. YAY! I was hoping that someone would enjoy them when I wrote them down here! So glad to hear that. I'll keep em coming for ya!


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