Tuesday, September 2, 2008

:: :: elp, elp, elp :: ::

Like many children his age I’m sure, Evan started expressing a lot more frustration around his first birthday. He was so much more capable and aware, which only made him more upset when he couldn’t do something All By Himself.

As he started learning some words, I decided I’d try to teach him to say “help,” thinking, of course, that it wouldn’t really take. I figured he’d probably learn to say, “I see a red firetruck” and speak in trochaic hexameter before he’d learn to say “help.” But still I tried. Whenever he would do his frustrated whine/cry/grunty thing, I’d say, “Can you say help?” and then I’d help him.

In the meantime, he learned to say all kinds of things: all done, up, out, hi, bye. And then suddenly he learned to say help. In the proper context. It sounds an awful lot like “up” and so can be a bit confusing to the untrained ear, but to me it sounds like music. It’s such a nice little sound compared to that horrible sound of frustration.

But of course he’s now learned to use it against me, smart little fella. When I’m doing something in the kitchen, for example, like getting his food ready for daycare, and he wants my attention, he points to a toy and says “help.” I, of course, want to reward his very civilized behavior, plus I can’t refuse to help him when he’s asking specifically for help, so I go. But three times this morning the thing he needed help with, the thing that made him say “elp” over and over again until I came, was something he knows how to do. He needed me to open a door he’s known how to open for months. He needed me to take the lid off his legos even though I’ve seen him do it fifty times.

He’s a crafty one, that kid. He knows I can ignore his whining and crying but not his eager little “elp.” I think I might be in for it, folks. In. For. It.