Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Blue elephant warrior

It always happens, without fail. Some times it might take a little longer than expected, but it always happens. Some times it happens without any warning, and others you see it coming and just have to wait.

It usually starts off innocently. A reach here, a push or grab there. Then it escalates. Typically the talking starts and then grows louder. Talking then becomes a sort of baby yell. The baby yell gives way to all out frustration and then hostility sets in.

It's the squishy blue Exersaucer© elephant. Dangling on his flexible orange hook, he hangs there just taunting her. And one way or the other, he always wins. No amount of drool, yelling or gumming changes the outcome.

The face-off begins as soon as Alysse is placed in the Exersaucer©, spinning the seat around until she's looking him square in the face. I've begun intentionally turning the seat a full 180 degrees away from the little blue troublemaker before placing her in it, hoping something else will catch her attention. Not a chance. She immediately begins to spin herself, seeking him out and not giving the other less confrontational toys a second glance.

Then it's on. She pulls, grabs and shoves him until she gets him right where she thinks she wants him. Into her mouth he goes. A couple chomps later and he's back out for repositioning. More yanking and some drool, and back in he goes. Still not right, as she lets him go again, bouncing around on his hook.

Now the talking starts. She usually starts out in a fairly polite manner. Giving him what I take to be instructions, she gives it another go. More chewing and gnawing around, then things heat up. The polite talk turns to baby yelling, and an attempt or two later the crying starts.

I'm not exactly sure what he does or doesn't do that sets her off. Perhaps the motor skills she currently possesses don't allow her to position him in her mouth exactly the way she wants. Or maybe the relief he provides her expectant gums doesn't quite cut it. Whatever the cause, her elephant encounter always proves futile.

I've tried removing him once her frustration takes hold. Out of sight, out of mind was my thinking. However, the fireworks his absence cause are more volatile than what would have erupted had I just let their ensuing struggle run its course. And more than once I've quickly replaced him to lessen her hostility and let the saga play out.

I've tried ridding the activity center of his presence altogether before placing her in it. Still, she spins. Looking for her prey. Coming up short on the hunt, she's then unhappy that she didn't get the chance to gain her first victory.

I'm guessing he's safe until that first tooth makes its way through her baby gum. After that, it just might be a more evenly matched bout of baby versus elephant, as she'll have the means to pop that little blue sucker in retaliation for all the defeats she's suffered.

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