We all know kids go through phases of behavior. Some have memorable names like "Terrible Twos" and "Troublesome Threes", while others are more vague and enigmatic. There's the "puts everything in sight into her mouth" phase, which is really quite understandable and not something we worry about. When they get older we expect the "interested in boys" phase and all the normal growing up stuff. There is one, however, that I was not at all prepared for . . one which currently is giving Mandi and I quite a cause for concern.
Without over-doing it on the details, Lily's usual routine at night goes as follows: dinner, bath, TV, story, bed. She's quite fond of that sequence and it seems to produce the best results with regard to her falling asleep quickly. So I do my best to stick to that sequence whenever possible. Sometimes, though, if dinner was too early or if other circumstances present themselves, I'll wait a while after dinner before taking her upstairs for her bath. Often this pause in the action will last 25 or 30 minutes, depending on what I've chosen to do in between. The first two or so times we did this it worked out well, giving me some time to regroup and Lily a little bonus play time. Recently though, it's taken an unsettling turn.
A few nights ago, with my mother in town and the whole routine in general disarray, we finished dinner early and Lil went to the playroom to kill some time before her Meema (my mom's self-given grandma nickname) was to take her upstairs for her bath. A few unusually quiet moments later she came traipsing back into the kitchen, naked as a jaybird. She had a huge grin on her face, and before our jaws finished bouncing off of the floor she proclaimed "I'm naked!" As if that wasn't enough, after Mandi made her best attempt at scolding her while struggling to hold back raucous laughter, she went back to the playroom and retrieved her broom-stick horse toy. She pushed its button to start the clickety-clackety-clomping sound, came galloping back into the kitchen with the horse between her knees and proudly shouted again "I'm naked! I love being naked!" Needless to say, it became futile to try to hold back our laughter at that point, although we wanted very badly not to reinforce this more-than-mildly disturbing behavior. When she left the room Mandi turned to me with the most serious look I'd seen on her face in days and said "Honey, your number one mission in life is gonna be to keep that kid off of the pole." I have to admit, I think she's probably right on the mark with that prediction, and I do not think it'll be an easy task. My mission, should I choose to accept it . . .