Men are from Mars and women are from a galaxy far, far, away. That’s common knowledge. A man’s brain is wired for rational, linear problem solving and sheer awesomeness! I’m hungry. I should eat food. I’m thirsty. I should drink beer. And so forth. A man’s brain operates like a Swiss watch, accurately and efficiently! On the other hand, a woman’s brain is a wiring nightmare. Their thoughts usually go like this: “Let me see if I can talk on the phone while yelling at the radio station while getting dressed while driving while filling out a checkbook while eating breakfast while thinking about whether my bedroom should be painted mauve or lilac.” (Come on ladies. I see you doing this on the freeway all the time!) A woman’s brain reminds me of the internet, a potpourri of gross interconnectedness. When I query the word “gray”, I get the answer “Flashdance and the iconic sweatshirt”. Say what?
I didn’t think that differences could be seen so early in life, but I’ve been swayed since the Smush came along. As a comparison (just this once for my readers, because I don’t compare my children to one another…they are each unique snowflakes), Worm and I not only speak clearly to one another, but we can relate through sign language and orca clicks. It’s remarkable that we don’t even have to be in the same room to understand each other. Sometimes he farts and I know what he means. It’s beautiful. Smushie, though, just doesn’t make any sense to me.
Her words are limited to “Hi!” and “Daddie” in various permutations and combinations, but I’m not penalizing her on that. She’s got grunts and twisted faces that help her to get the point across. But more than half the time, I still don’t get it. I’ve also never been good at Charades. But still.
The setting – 9:30am and she hasn’t eaten breakfast since she woke up at 7. I’ve prepared a plate of strawberries and pancakes ready to feed her. Smushel is standing in the kitchen looking at me going “Ah. Ah. Ah.” Her mouth is wide open.
Me – “Mushie, do you want some strawberries?” I fork the fruit from the plate and move it towards her mouth.
Smush – “Hi Daddie! Daddie!” with a smile on her face.
Me – “Here you go.” And I put the fork right in front of her mouth.
Smush – “Wahhhhh!” She gets this fearful look on her face, her eyes well up with tears, and she slowly inches backwards.
Me – “Don’t you want to eat? Aren’t you hungry?” I start to walk towards her.
Smush – turns and runs away to the corner of the living room.
Me – Uh, what the hell just happened? “Oh well, more strawberries for me…”
The setting – 11am and she points at the TV.
Me – “Mush, do you want to watch some show?”
Smush – Nodding in agreement.
Me – I pick up the remote and turn on the TV.
Smush – drops to the ground and clutches the carpet in agony.
Me – “Uh, Worm?” as I look over to see if anyone else caught what was going on.
Worm – “Yes, Honeydaddy?”
Me – “Why is Mushie crying?” I ask, as if my height deterred me from seeing ‘eye to eye’ with my daughter.
Worm – “I think she just wants you to want to turn on the TV, but not actually do it. Or she’s crying for the killings in Gaza. I can’t really tell.”
Me – “Worm, neither of those things you said make any sense to me.”
Worm – “Sure Daddy.”
The above two scenarios play out almost daily in some odd form. Before the Smushmonster came, I figured there wasn’t much to understanding toddlers. Now I find myself second guessing an 18 month old girl’s motives, especially when my incorrect action causes her to sprawl out on the floor screaming like I ripped the arms off her favorite teddy bear. It’s like she’s speaking a different language. I fear this may be the beginning of a long life of daddy-daughter misunderstandings. I need to brace myself. Or just defer to her mother for a translation…and I can stick to understanding farts.