Temper, temper

Chris and I enjoy most of Maddi’s developmental milestones. Yes, there are a few, such as sticking hands in poopy diapers and opening the central vacuum outlets, that we could do without. But by and large, we are delighted to see our little girl becoming older and more independent.

However, one of her newest phases definitely falls into the “we could do without” category. It used to be that Maddi would register disappointment with a wide-eyed look of wistful bewilderment and perhaps an outstretched arm as we passed by the forbidden object of desire. Lately, that disappointment has been registered far more often with an arched back and an insistent, high-pitched whining sound that is quickly followed by what is known as the “Shriek of Doom.”

After practicing all manner of screaming and shrieking noises over the past several months, Maddi has finally settled on a bloodcurdling, face-reddening, rage-filled shriek next to which all other incredibly loud and irksome noises pale. It is two parts insane Mynah bird and one part angry mountain lion, with a little extra intonation reminiscent of an exorcism thrown in for good measure.

Parents not coming to retrieve one from a nap quickly enough? Diaper change rather than playtime after aforementioned nap? Forbidden from sampling Mom’s soft drink? Barred from climbing up the tub walls and gnawing on the faucet? Time to employ the Shriek of Doom. Even when it gets absolutely no parental response, this horrendous noise is apparently so enjoyable to the shrieker that it takes a good minute of thrashing on the floor and screaming before one even realizes that nobody’s paying any attention to the earsplitting cacophony.

In other news, I’m thinking of renting Maddi out as a babyproofing-efficacy tester. You see, every time we go to playgroup, she finds something to get into even at the most heavily babyproofed homes. Whether it’s finding tiny knicknacks on the third shelf or pulling heating vents from the floor or attempting to gobble up cat food, Maddi seems to get into all the tempting things that the other babies inexplicably leave alone (at least until she teaches them her tricks). Even at our house, where every outlet is plugged, furniture is tethered and wires are hidden behind things, she still manages to hunt down the odd electrical cord, open the central-vac outlets and splash in the water cooler.

Some of her mischief is beyond the scope of even the most imaginative prediction. Yesterday, while I was on the computer, Maddi, two feet away from me in her huge play yard, began laughing uproariously. I turned around to behold our dear daughter tickling the cat’s footpads as the helpless cat squirmed, stuck to the other side of the play yard. Poor Deva, tempted by a toy with which Maddi had taunted her (a break from her usual pursuit of dropping blocks over the play yard onto sleeping felines), had sunk a claw into the plush plaything and gotten her foot stuck — leaving her vulnerable for the affections of Maddi, whose latest hobby is tickling the feet of both humans and, apparently, animals. Let me just say that it was not exactly the idyllic scene we envisioned when Chris purchased that play yard.

On the language front, Maddi learned two new words this week and debuted them both in a 20-minute span. Last night, she said “bath” for the first (confirmable) time when I stripped her down and asked her if she was ready for her bath. Then, while in the bath, she said “duck” a few times in reference to her bath duckie and clapped when I asked her if she said “duck.” Of course it sounded more like “dud,” but she’ll perfect it eventually, just as she did with “cat.” Her new bath-related words bring us to a total of 28 words with a few weeks to go yet before her first birthday.

Coming soon: Pictures of our little air-raid siren at 50 weeks!

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