Hands on parenting

My daughter is two years-old. I say my daughter is two years-old because she is two years-old, In actual fact though, she will be three in September. I’m just not a big fan of quoting it down to the month every time I have to mention it.

The reality of the situation though, is that a lot has happened in those ten months as a two year-old. She is becoming a very chatty and curious little girl who has been gaining a greater understanding of the world around her, and that her Daddy is blind.

Kids are amazing really. My wife is from Rio in Brazil, and so both English and Portuguese have been a part of Sophie’s language learning from day one. Long before she understood that there were two separate languages, she just kind of new that there were words and phrases she could say to Mummy that she couldn’t say to Daddy, because Daddy was an idiot who could only just about speak English. She would say Trousers to me, but always say the Portuguese version of that word – whatever that is – to my wife, without I’m sure really understanding why that was, its just the way things were.

As she has gotten older though I think her comprehension has shifted to having more of an understanding that there are two separate languages that she is learning, but that her Daddy is still an idiot regardless.

The reason I mention this is that I think that this has also been the way in which she understands that I am blind. Since long before any real understanding of what blind actually is, she just kind of learned that Daddy looks at things different to Mummy. When you show something to Mummy you can just kind of wave it in front of her, but when you show something to Daddy you have to put his hand on it, I don’t think she understood why that was, its just the way things were.

As I mentioned in my last post though, this comprehension has understandably been hit and miss at best. She would put my hand on a new dress to show me the frills and bows, but would also run in to the room doing something silly and shouting “Look at me Daddy, look at me!”, causing me to react enthusiastically to her antics without really knowing what she was doing, and hoping that she hadn’t just ran in carrying scissors with a carrier bag over her head.

Over this past ten months though, her understanding is shifting. She has gone from just repeating my wife’s explanation that “Daddy’s eyes don’t work properly”, to actually being able to associate what this actually means in various situations.

I was in the kitchen a little while back and looking for one of Sophie’s cups that had fallen on the floor. My wife was in the bedroom with Sophie and told her to ‘go in to the kitchen and help Daddy find the cup on the floor’.

Sophie came into the kitchen and asked – “You can’t find the cup Daddy?” – And then making that connection for herself she added – “Your eyes are broken? They don’t work properly?”

This leap of thinking from her knocked me off my stride for a moment to be honest as it was not only incredibly clever and adorable of her to make this connection, but also a bit of a shock to the system that my daughter was beginning to understand that her Daddy had flaws that meant he couldn’t do certain things very well that other people could do. Ok yes we all have flaws and nobody is perfect, but there is a short lived period when you have a small child, were you get to pretend that you are, and it felt like this was now over a little too early for me.

Life does however adhere very strictly to the law of swings and roundabouts, and a few days ago I was in the living room with her when she decided that she needed a wee with the upmost urgency. That’s often the way with toddlers, they regularly don’t know they need a wee until they are literally about to piss themselves.
I rushed in to the bathroom with her to make sure that her potty was in the right place. She did a wee but then decided that she had a bit more work to do on her tiny plastic throne and followed this up with a number two – the smells of which can often rival those of a forty year old man’s after a weekend of alcohol and greasy food fuelled debauchery. I tentatively held a breath and asked her to stand up and bend over while I wiped her bottom, but she refused.

“No Daddy” she said,” whilst remaining firmly planted on her potty. “You can’t wipe my bottom. Mummy will have to do it.”

“Why not” I asked.

“Your eyes don’t work properly and you are not allowed to touch my poo-poo!”
She added with a tone of defiant authority.

Well who am I to argue with the boss. All of a sudden I’m up for this new awareness of my shortcomings if it gets me out of the mucky jobs.

“Mummy” I shouted, “She’s all yours!”

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