Almost a year ago, I devoted this space to a discussion of how growing up around sports was impacting the development of my daughter, Sierra. Given recent events, it seems a good time to provide an update.
Now that Daddy's Little Girl has moved into the terrible two's, we're at that delightful stage of life where learning is taking place almost daily and communication is gradually becoming easier as her vocabulary develops. Of course, one of the most important building blocks to instill in a young mind is the ABC's.
As parents, we've tried a variety of methodologies to help her learn her letters. There's the tried and true singing. The equally tried and true alphabet blocks and kitchen refrigerator magnets. We've entrusted her little eyes and brain to Sesame Street, as well as some videos we happened to stumble across on, of all places, YouTube that she seemed to catch on to.
So I took it with great pride and a sense of achievement when she stood in the living room over a recent weekend, announcing to the world the letter G. This continued on and off throughout the day, puzzling both mom and dad regarding her fascination with the seventh letter of the alphabet.
Don't get me wrong. We were happy, but we were also confused as to why she was skipping over the first six letters, as well as bypassing some that, quite frankly, would seem to be a lot easier for a two-year-old brain to identify. I mean, let's face it, G looks a whole lot like C and Q. Certainly it isn't as unique as, say, the letters I or X or W.
As usual, it was mom's observation powers that finally cracked the mystery. Dad's first clue came when Sports Gal laughed and pointed to the Gatorade commercial playing on the television. Sure enough, further observation throughout the weekend showed that the wee one's lovefest with the letter G did, in fact, coincide with product breaks for the popular sports beverage.
Score one for a marketing executive somewhere.
This isn't the first time product placement has scored a point in the toddler's life. Pepsi's trademark blue and red logo became the “Pepsi ball” long before any other circular-shaped object — including a globe of the Earth —was anything more than just a ball.
As a 2-year old, Daddy's Little Girl has also reached an interactive stage. For some, this might mean waving and saying hello.
For the sports editor's kid, this means that she now feels the need to fist-bump and high-five everyone in sight. Call it a hunch, but I think watching starting lineups at Northwest College athletic events might have something to do with that one.
When she was younger, it used to be fun to lay on my back and bench press Daddy's Little Girl into the air while counting. After a while, she took over the counting process and it became a sort of educational opportunity for her. What could possibly be wrong with that?
I failed to project the dangers of this behavior into the future. She now weighs in the neighborhood of 30 pounds. She can also count to 20. Suddenly, daddy-daughter workouts are featuring a lot more repetitions with a lot more weight on the bar. Dad and mom aren't having as much fun as they once did.
Naturally, Sierra has decided that its her favorite game to play. I believe this proves, once and for all, that the “physical trainer” gene begins to exert dominance at age 2. Just another discovered danger of raising a child around a sports environment.