the stupid makes it funny

I’m on my fifth two-year-old, and I have to say, he’s cute enough that we’re delighted by him every day, and frustrating enough that I’m not TOO sad about never doing this again. Here’s what I’ve discovered about two-year-olds: they are a study in contraries. In one breath, we’re bragging about how smart and precocious and clever they are, and in the next, we’re lamenting their frustrating, and let’s face it, often downright stupid behavior. But listen, most of us are attracted to things that are both smart and stupid (Jim Carey? Stephen Colbert?) and it’s the juxtaposition of the two, I’ve decided, that makes two-year-olds so much fun.

Recent evidence:

Smart. No kid likes going to bed, right? Every night Thomas tells me, in his two-year-old diction, “I doh wah go bed.” As if this is somehow news to us. The other night, he abruptly changed his party line to one with perfect grammar and pronunciation, “Mom, I hate go-ing to bed.” Startling, I tell you, in its clarity.

Stupid. We keep trying to record his little voice and on a recent day, Matt got out his nifty little data recorder because Thomas was singing, as he often does. He was smart enough to notice though, and immediately stopped singing and started asking what it was and why he couldn’t play with it. Matt tried to convince him to sing by playing the short clip he had managed to record, and then Thomas proceeded to insist that the baby sing more. You’re the baby, silly! We want you to sing more too! [I actually have a funny video of this type of exchange, but did you know it costs $60 a year to put video on a WordPress blog? Are they kidding? I put it on Facebook (for free) if you want to see Thomas singing — go to my wall and click on photos and videos.]

Smart. He has already learned to stroke his mother’s ego. When I do things for him, he’ll often say, “You did it, Mom. Good job.” He also announces his plans, “I’m gonna set this up. Kay, mom?” And understands the concepts of colors and numbers, though his execution is still a work in progress. “Is dis da blue one?”

Stupid. Eats ice cream with his hands.

Smart. Can operate an iPhone, with near-perfect precision. One day we were at an event, and another mother noticed him taking a picture with it, then going back to view the picture he had taken. She was pretty impressed. He takes interesting kids-eye view pictures like this:By contrast, I recently had a terrible time helping someone (of a slightly different generation) make a phone call with the thing.

Stupid. The day after our big snow storm last week, the sun was out and everything was dripping, including our roof’s raingutters. They don’t have a downspout, so the water drips all the way from roof to sidewalk. Thomas was delighted by the dripping, and promptly had a little shower. Even when he was soaked, cold, and his wet pants were so heavy that they fell down (Lambert men have small bums), he didn’t really want to come in.Do you think when we laugh at him that it’s scarring him for life? Or is it just giving him the self-concept that he’s a fun, funny guy?

So I guess we’re going to enjoy the smart with the stupid while it lasts. And when he gets a little smarter and can tie his own shoes and wipe his own bottom, we’ll enjoy that too.

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