My daughter is the most photogenic person on the planet, nay – the solar system. Also, she has some of the cutest behaviors in the solar system, nay – the galaxy. However, she has a condition I call techno infatuatia. Basically, whenever there is a camera present, she will stop whatever cute thing she is doing and try to grab the camera to see how she can mess with the white balance or some nonsense I’ll never figure out how to reverse. Even if it is on top of the refrigerator. She gets as close as she can and reaches out her little 15-inch arms (Ed note: He has no idea how long her arms are) as far as they will go and grunt and whine. This is not one of her cute behaviors.
Because of this, we are sadly unable to capture most of her fun antics on video. I have started putting a camera stand in the kitchen to get her acclimated to it, Jane Goodall-style, which is a reference I am starting to wear into the ground. It seems to be working, but only if I start the recording before she gets into the room, forcing me to sort through lots of boring and neglectful parenting to get to anything worthwhile. And then, I have no editing equipment, so it will just sit in the digital etherworld until probably forever, because there’s always something on TV.
All this is to say that I’ve decided to start writing down some of my favorite Mabel tricks to preserve them somewhere before I forget them all. I held a three-month-old baby the other day when a fellow parent had to run out to catch her older son and I had completely forgotten they come out that size. I don’t want to accidentally forget all about Mabel standing up on top of her stool and sticking out both of her arms, exclaiming “ta-da” to anyone or no one. So here are my at-least-for-now-and-that-I-can-remember Top Ten Mabel Behaviors, circa 5/15/14.
10. The Clap: Mabel has gotten an obsession for clapping, probably a result of Ms. Nancy’s storytime at the library. So much so, that she teaches others how to clap. She will grab the hands of really anyone, as evident by her teaching my good friend Mike Conover how to clap a mere three hours after she met him, and say “cyaaaaap… cyaaaaap” as she slowly moves their hands together. And then, she’ll suddenly speed up, saying “cyap cap cap cap cap.” She’s also recently started looking at other people in the room and will chastise you for not cyapping. She was playing a came of cyap the other night with my wife and looked up at me and said “Daddy cyap?!” in such a disappointed tone, I felt as if I had done something wrong.
9. Content-Eating Shoulder Roll: Mabel has a soundtrack running through her head at all times. She spins and jumps and gallops for no reason at all without any music playing in the outside world. All of this is completely adorable, especially in the Post Office or the aisle of Shoppers. A friend of mine who has been dulled by 20-something years of social expectations had mentioned that she didn’t want to dance because she was afraid someone would see her or something like that. Mabel has no such hang up and I’m not going to be the one to tell her she should. You could easily understand why being strapped down in a high chair might not be the most favorite position for someone compelled to dance. But Mabel won’t let that stop her. When she’s happy, usually when eating but sometimes just sitting on the couch, she will bob her head from side to side for no reason at all. Sometimes this is accompanied by a light hum, which is especially cute while she’s eating. And when she catches you looking at her, she’ll cock her head and shoot you back a casual smile as if to say “What the people need is a way to make ‘em smile. It ain’t so hard to do if you know how.”