Wednesday, March 24, 2010

This One's for Mom

So our daughter is smack dab in the middle of toddlerhood with a healthy dose of the terrible twos going on right now. Ally is very curious and likes to sing and build blocks and play with her stuffed animals, but all hell can break loose if she doesn't get her way. One moment she's an angelic tot with a halo of curly blonde hair, and the next she's a defiant wailing banshee with demonic red eyes flailing around on the floor. All because she wanted to drink her milk this morning and, while coming down the stairs, she realized that she would have to go all the way over to the dining room table to get her cup herself AND THIS WOULD NOT DO.

This is a relatively new development in our home life. Ally was the most amiable, eager to please toddler up until about two weeks ago. At first I thought maybe her tantrums were due to a virus and she simply wasn't feeling that well. Now I know that the terrible twos have officially arrived and we were damn lucky to get this close to her third birthday before having to deal with it. I know there are parents out there who would probably say, "HA! You should have a *boy*! And our child has been that way since he was 18 months old!" However, the sudden onset of this behavior has left us somewhat bewildered and unsure of our abilities as parents. Or at least it does until we snap out of it and send her straight back up to her room where she can wail and flail to her heart's delight and there's at least a wall between us and her.

But in conjunction with the sudden appearance of temper tantrums, we're facing a more serious issue as parents. Somehow, somewhere, Ally has developed a serious Southern accent. It's as if she's channeling Paula Deen. My mom will be delighted, as up until now she has felt that Paula Deen was the only other person on the planet who had a more pronounced Southern accent than herself. When Ally asks for her milk (well, before the temper tantrum hits), it sounds as if she was saying, "Meal-ilk" over the course of 10 seconds. And she wanted "oat-meeeal" for breakfast today. At this point she's just as likely to ask for "scrambled aaai-ggs." Last night she kept talking about a "bail" and we finally realized she was saying, "bell."

Ally is probably doing this on purpose to some extent, largely because this produces a reaction in us as if someone was slowly dragging his nails down a chalkboard and Lord knows the child loves attention. But I can't figure out where she picked up the pronunciations in the first place. None of her teachers at daycare speak this way. Sure, there are plenty of people in the New River Valley that talk like this, but I don't remember anyone at Tractor Supply or Walmart or any of the other fine establishments that we frequent on a regular basis discussing milk or oatmeal with Ally around. Is she picking this up through the air she breathes or the water she drinks? It's as if she's slowly acquiring a rural persona.

I won't worry about it too much, at least until she starts talking with my Dad's Grundy accent.

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