Daughter knows how to make the calls

Published 12:10 am Sunday, April 13, 2014

Move over Babe Ruth, Anna “Banana” may just have you beat soon. Just shy of turning 14 months old, my daughter is already showing signs of greatness, the stuff of legends really.

It was early one morning when the first glimpses became apparent.

More often than not, yours truly takes the morning shift at our house and the routine doesn’t change much.

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Wake Anna up or wait for her to stir on her own, get a cup of coffee and get breakfast foods doled out.

Usually that’s Purina Little Bites for the two four-legged yelpers and some fruits, bread (a bagel or a pancake) and milk for Anna.

The recent morning was going along the usual routine when suddenly Anna’s left arm flung toward the sky, just like Babe Ruth’s famous “called shot” in the 1932 World Series.

At the end of her arm, her index finger seemed to point the way.

“What do you want?” I asked.

The gesture was repeated — with more emphasis for the sake of the dense old man who just doesn’t seem to get it.

“Unh!” she said.

Like a man trying to understand directions given in a foreign tongue, I sprang up and began moving around the room pointing at things in a desperate attempt to find whatever “Unh!” meant.

“This?” I pointed to a small bowl of peaches on the counter.

The tiny redhead adamantly shook, “No,” though no sound was uttered.

“Unh!” was repeated, with a sense of utter frustration and the arm flailing.

A few more failed attempts at learning what she sought dashed Anna’s hopes that she might actually have an intelligent father. The look on her face revealed what most 13-year-olds will agree, “My Dad is an idiot.” My daughter, obviously mature for her age, made this discovery just a bit earlier, at age 13 months.

Eventually, just like the proverbial blind squirrel, the old man stumbled onto the solution — a small plastic bag of Cheerios tucked into a cabinet.

A smile signaled the called shot, just like Ruth’s World Series gesture, yielded a home run for Anna.

Since that breakthrough morning, our house has been the scene of perhaps thousands of such “called shots” — some result in home runs, while others are strikeouts.

Anna’s record approximates Babe Ruth’s own averages — he struck out approximately twice as many times as he hit home runs.

The whole episode was a reminder that the terrible twos may only be months away, but it also gives me new appreciation for what Anna’s world must be like now as she’s clearly learning what she likes and doesn’t like, knows a bunch of words but cannot speak them and generally wishes she could communicate clearly, but cannot.

How frustrating it must be for her and other young children her age.

Fortunately for her, plenty of us are perfectly willing to jump up and point at things, hoping against hope we can comprehend these first bits of attempted communication.

When Anna was born, a friend said that the amazing thing about parenthood is that each phase just gets better and better.

That’s proven so true to date. What follows the Babe Ruth phase remains a mystery, but if the past is any indication, it will be a blast.


Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3539 or kevin.cooper@natchezdemocrat.com.