Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Octopus

Girlchild has reached a new milestone.

I'm not sure when it happened, but she seems to have grown an inch or so taller almost overnight, which means she can now access a number of areas that were previously unreachable. Hurray.

She likes this new-found height so much that she is constantly seeking ways to enhance it. She will stand on almost anything - toys, cushions, packages of toilet paper, piles of junk - to get those extra inches and to be able to see a whole new world that was previously not there for her.

Not only that, her Octopus gene seems to have kicked in. So she's naturally taller, she's artificially taller and she has suddenly grown what seems to be six new arms that are constantly unfurling and creeping and reaching around to explore.

This means it is time to retrain the grown-ups. No longer can we get away with hiding the chocolate at the back of the counter because, darn it, she either sees it or she feels around for it. She's onto us! This also raises innumerable safety issues. Knives can no longer be left simply back from the edge of the counter when taking a break from chopping things - they actually have to be removed. We're into that whole new stage of childproofing - it's time for our feeble brains to kick into the mode.

This milestone came into play this morning in an unexpected (although I should have known) way. I was helping Boychild with something in another room. I could hear Girlchild - I knew she was taking things out of her toy box. What I didn't realize until I walked back into the other room about five minutes later was that she was taking these toys - be they soft plush puppets or Made-in-China battery-operated plastic doodads - and reaching a way up high so she could drop them over the lip of the aquarium that houses our red-eared slider - Myrtle the Turtle. By the time I got there, about two dozen toys had been dropped into Myrtle's somewhat-less-than-pristine water. In fact, it took me a moment before I could actually SEE Myrtle amid Dora the Explorer doll, a pink key chain, a few Mega Blocks, a toy van, some Mr. Potato Head pieces, two electronic shape and number games, a toy cell phone, etc.

It was definitely a unique experience for Myrtle. At most she has been joined by a single toy before some alarmed adult has swooped down to prevent further drama. She seemed, in her turtley way, to be somewhat bemused by the whole thing. Mommy, however, was not so thrilled. It meant unscheduled laundry and toy washing for me, not to mention reconfiguring the opening of Myrtle's tank to prevent further toy-dropping exercises. Seems to me I remember doing this with Boychild, too. I wish I had remembered earlier....