I'm in big trouble. That's trouble with a capital T.
OPINION: Actually, I should say that I'm going to be in big Trouble. Not right now, not next week, but in the coming months and years. Because quite soon my darling daughter will be talking, charming, and wheedling her way to whatever she likes. And I'll be powerless because I know resisting her charms will be quite difficult.
She's 16 months old now and she's a little biddy. She has no idea about the world but it's clear she already knows how to get what she wants when she wants it. Because her ol' dad will do anything for a cuddle from her.
Take her walking, for example. Or the lack of it.
She's perfectly capable of walking and has been doing it behind a walker and around things for four months. But she won't give up on the crawling because she knows we want her to stop . . . so she teases us. She'll walk part of the time, between things or to something, but crawling remains her preferred option. She knows she can do it, she just refuses to because she doesn't want to. It's like it's her "thing".
We're starting an exciting time with her now though. She's starting to do more than use grunts and crying to communicate. We're starting to get the right words - "juice" and "cat" - but more importantly she's finally using "daddy" correctly. She's been using mummy for some time but has refused, of course, to use daddy.
From now on, I expect her to use it whenever she wants something. And I'm sure she'll soon find the tone that I'll respond best to.
Her willingness to try any type of food has impressed me this week. She devoured a curry one night and then happily tried cherry tomatoes the following night . . . although she did spit the skins out. But she was more than happy to try new things, unlike her big brother who remains an enigma when it comes to food. We're playing hardball with him at the moment - he doesn't eat what's dished up and he'll go hungry, so we'll see how that pans out for all involved.
Piper loves her food so much it appears she's starting to squirrel it away. We've discovered food down her singlet and also tucked into her nappy, as well as finding some in her bed. It all seems a bit weird so I can only assume she's packing it away for a midnight snack.
This week though I've also come to realise it's not just me that's going to find themselves in trouble - the other male in the house is also going to have to adjust. They've started "playing" together, if you can call it that, but there have also been a couple of incidents that suggest what things might be like in the future.
I've watched Piper touch Zach - just a tap - and he's started crying, complaining that she's hit him. You'd think she'd laid into him with a baseball bat . . . but it's more like a feather landing on a pillow.
Ah yes, trouble is brewing on the horizon. Life as we know it is about to change.
Mark Hotton is a fulltime journalist/ fulltime dad who picked the best two weeks to have off to do things around the house. It's just a pity some golf got in the way of completing the to-do list. There's always next time.
- The Southland Times