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My Daughter Can Do Tricks, Wanna See?

I've come to realize that toddlers are not much different than trick dogs.

Okay, so maybe when parents show off their child's accomplishments, it's not presented EXACTLY like that. But there are some funny parallels between the way we indirectly brag about our kids' talents and the way a proud dog owner displays their pet's ability to follow commands.

Last night, I took a short video clip of one of my daughter's most recent 'tricks'. We slick her hair back after a bath, call her Vampire Baby and tell her to go 'BLAH!' like Dracula. I know, we are strange. But as I sat there shooting the video of us prodding her to keep saying 'BLAH!' (I think I even had her hiss at one point), it got me to thinking about all the strange things that parents put on display as their young kids are developing.

I'll be frank: Amanda and I are both weird. Admittedly, I am MUCH weirder. We are also both very fun and have great senses of humor. This has led us to teach Ava lots of unique, funny things to show off to people in order to make them laugh.

There really are a lot of similarities between parents and a puppy owner trying to train their pet to do 'outside the box' tricks. Sit, roll over and shake are all great and good. But every pet owner wants to have that dog that can do something Youtube-worthy. You know, walk on it's hind legs or ice skate or do a triple gainer off the high dive. Every pet owner wishes they could be on Letterman's 'Stupid Pet Tricks', and similarly, most parents want to have people saying 'Did you see what _____ & ______'s kid can do?'

In addition to the aforementioned 'Vampire Baby', here's a handful of examples of the "tricks" that we've taught Ava over the past few months. Some are bizarre, some are pretty standard for toddlers, but either way, they are all things that we take pride in and love to show off to our family and friends.

"Hip-hop!" - When someone yells out hip-hop, Ava quickly crosses her arms in an old-school Run-DMC-esque pose. Yes, I am fully responsible for this one.

"What does _______ say?" - The list of animals continues to grow on this one. We've got puppies (Fuff!), horses (Brrrr!), cows (Moo!), ducks (Cack!), and probably the newest and most entertaining of all: Mommy (No no no no no!).

"Go swimming!" - This is a bathtub trick, so it doesn't get shown off like the others, but it's still hilarious to see her flip to her stomach and kick her feet.

These guys' arm crosses have nothing on my daughter's hip-hop stance.
Beatboxing - Previously posted in a video for Wordless Wednesday, I love to watch her mimic beatboxing. Too funny.

"Rock and roll!" - A close relative of 'Hip-hop!', when we yell out Rock and Roll, Ava sticks out her tongue like Gene Simmons.

"Can you jump?" - She tries so hard, but just hasn't quite reached liftoff yet. But watching her intensity as she bends those knees and gets high up on her toes is adorable.

"Toot?" - Always met with a scrunch-faced grunting on her part.

"Be a zombie!" - Still a work in progress, but the ultimate goal is to have her raise her arms and front of her and groan (maybe when she's a bit older I'll modify it and have her say 'BRAAAAINS!').

"Step on the bugs!" - New as of yesterday when I got home from work. She lifts her leg high in the air then stomps it down in a thunderous death strike.

That's just a sampling of the 'Stupid Toddler Tricks' that we like to show off. I'm sure there are plenty that I forgot, and I'm sure we will constantly be adding to her repertoire as she gets older and is more able to follow instructions.

Sure, maybe we parents of younger kids can act like puppy owners showing off new tricks sometimes. And when we can't do it in person, we take photos and videos and flood people's inboxes, Facebook newsfeeds, etc. But in both situations, the principle is the same: pride. We are incredibly proud of our daughter, and behind each one of those silly little tricks is subtle bragging about how funny, cute and well-developed our little girl is.

So go ahead parents. Keep on teaching that child of yours tricks and showing them off to the world. I certainly won't judge you..until you start putting them on a leash, that is.


great post! unfortunately, my toddler does not perform on command. she has an extensive repertoire, but does it even count if she won't do them in front of people?

My son has mastered the zombie/frankenstein. It's hilarious.

I'm definitely stealing some of these when my twins are of age--especially the zombie walk. I can just picture the two of them groaning "brains" as they stumble along the floor with Sippy Cups in their hands. I'm a firm believer in teaching kids badass tricks. Not only does it keep you entertained--it cultures them. And you're creating a little fireball, which this world needs more of. Good work, my friend.

Totally get what you're saying about the parental pride, too. Behind the goofiness is a kid who's really starting to understand the world and develop a personality, and that can be traced directly back to the work you've done as a parent.

@Matt - She's just got stage fright. She'll overcome it, and before you know it she'll be showing off for everybody!

@Mayson - The zombie/frankstein move is money. Between that and the vampire, I feel like next we need to go for a King Kong/Godzilla impression.

@twinfamy - I think the zombie move would be a million times funnier with two of them. It would be like a mini Dawn of the Dead. And you are right; we do need more fireballs, life is boring without them!

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