Jill Pertler

Jill Pertler

I’d forgotten what it was like to have a toddler in the house. We recently spent a few grand days with our granddaughter, who is 14 months old. She’s a tiny package but full of content.

What she lacks in size she makes up for in personality. She’s definitely an individual. I remember thinking that was cool when my kids were young. Cool and miraculous – that each of them are so unique. So themselves.

She’s called a toddler because, well, she toddles: walking with an unsteady gait, which gets more fluid each day. She may be toddling, but she’s also strutting. (I wouldn’t have thought that combination possible if I hadn’t seen her in action.) She is definitely proud of herself and her newly upright status.

When she does topple over, she rights herself, puts her hands in the air and says, “Oh, oh!”

“Oh, oh!” is her go-to phrase for any number of circumstances: when her freezie drips on the floor, when she can’t open a door or cupboard, when her mom won’t let her eat a crayon, when grandpa drops his phone and so on. Just about any situation can (and does) illicit an “Oh, oh!”

She loves looking out the window at Outside. The only thing better than looking at Outside is going there. If she hears the word “outside” or the word “park” she grabs her shoes and heads to the door – ready to go.

She is a daredevil, especially at the park, where no slide is too big or too fast. She plunges down the steepest incline with abandon. Gleeful, giggling and asking for “more.”

She loves crawling into cubby-like spaces – the smaller, the better. She discovered she could fit into the cupboard and thought this was the best hiding spot. Closing and opening the door to play peek-a-boo was as entertaining as watching the squirrels from the window or holding the remote in one hand and a cell phone in the other.

She loves carrying things – the bigger the item, the better. Two items in two hands are of course preferred over one. (Duh.) I read somewhere that in toddler logic, possession is akin to ownership. “If I have it in my hand, it is mine.” She’s definitely interested in possessing as many rocks and sticks and pinecones as possible. The same goes for cell phones and TV remotes, which she has cleverly ascertained are very, very important objects.

One morning we couldn’t find the TV remote. This is obviously a really big deal (for my husband). Someone remembered she’d had remote ownership about an hour prior. We knew she’d put it down somewhere, probably to pick up another interesting item or because she’d become distracted by another activity.

We looked everywhere. We looked in the nooks and crannies that were her usual stomping (strutting) grounds – behind the couch, under the chair, in her toy box, in the kitchen cupboards, in the pantry, in the broom closet, in our shoes, under the beds and in the crayon box. My husband asked her where she’d put the remote.

Since her vocabulary is currently limited to mama, dada, papa, water and more, she didn’t answer us but instead giggled and said “Oh, oh!”

For her part, she was cooperative with the search. She followed us around the house while we attempted to retrace her steps. Every minute or so she gave us a supportive “Oh, oh!”

After a thorough search we did find the remote in the most obvious of places.

It was on the windowsill. Why we didn’t look there earlier, I don’t know.

After the big remote mystery was solved some of us were ready for some fun at the park. With the mere mention of the “P” word she grabbed her shoes and headed for the door. The slides were waiting.

— Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright, author and member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Don’t miss a slice; follow the Slices of Life page on Facebook.

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