When my wife and I found out we were having a baby back in 2011, I stupidly hoped we would have a boy. My big reasoning was we already had a boy’s name picked out, so if we had a boy there wouldn’t be a difficult naming process. Also, I’m a boy and figured I would just have a better understanding of how to raise a little boy.
Those are pretty dumb reasons for wanting a boy, and my heart melted the moment I saw her. But my real joy in raising Ava is just how funny she is. I regularly post things she says on Facebook, and sometimes I get people asking me if Ava is really this funny, or if her writer daddy might be spicing things up a bit.
Everything I post is 100 percent her. I wouldn’t want to try to “create” a character like Ava, because it would put pressure on me to keep the funny coming, and like all hack sitcom writers, eventually I would turn her into a catchphrase machine or start creating hackneyed plots like the two of us having a fight and drawing a line down the middle of the house, or introducing a long-lost identical twin cousin to keep things interesting.
I also wouldn’t want to create a persona that she couldn’t live up to. She’s grown into her funniness naturally over the years, not doubt helped by us showing her things like The Simpsons and Bob’s Burgers from an inappropriately young age. I assume the humor will continue to develop into adulthood, where she will continue to shine.
Today marks five years since Ava came into our lives. In honor of that, I decided to throw together some of her greatest hits, all in one location.
Age 2: “Robe. Poop. Phone.” An unnerving sequence of words to hear your toddler say while you’re in the shower.
Age 2: ”Don’t touch Ava poop. Don’t eat Ava poop. Mine poop.” A conversation Ava just had with our dog.
Age 2: Me: “What are you doing over there?”
Ava: “No I’m not pooping!”
Me: “That makes me suspicious.”
Age 3: Ava: Dad! I found a clue!
Me: That’s not a clue. That’s dog poop.
Age 4: Ava: My body is out of poop. Just kidding, there’s more.
Age 2: (In a sing-song voice) “I brought some skin… I brought some skin…”
Age 2: See that red hand behind you, mommy? It has 10 fingers.
Age 2: Creepy toddler: I take the knives and…
Berkleigh: We don’t play with knives.
Creepy toddler: I don’t play with knives. I do… Nothing with them.
Age 4: Creepy toddler: When you die they put you in a box and put dirt on you. Then They take you to a place and you have to stay there. That’s just part of life.
Age 4: Dad, do you know what’s inside a body?
Creepy toddler pickup line
Age 2: “Is there too many pants in here?”
Age 4: (Watching Sesame Street with Ava)
Ava: We know him! We saw him at Abby Sue’s birthday!
Me: Janelle Monae? She’s a woman and I don’t think she was at Abby’s party.
Age 4: Ava: Pretend you want to give me a checkup.
Me: Do you want me to pretend, or do you actually want me to give you a checkup?
Ava: Pretend you actually give me a checkup.
Age 4: (While listening to They Might be Giants) “You said they kind of were giants.”
Age 4: Ava’s teacher: What do you guys call the police at home?
Me: Um, the police?
Teacher: Ava, what do you call the police?
Age 4: Me: Remember, no jumping on your bed.
Ava: I wasn’t, I was just loco sitting,
Me: Loco sitting?
Ava: Yeah, that’s a real word. Right, daddy?
Age 3: I was carrying Ava at the comic convention and felt a small blast of air on my arm. A moment later:
Ava: I tooted, but you didn’t notice.
Me: Oh, I noticed.
Ava: Pretend you didn’t!
Age 4: Ava: Did Santa say it was Ok if mommy rides on the Santa train with me?
Ava: Did you text Santa?
Age 3: Ava, holding a Kit Kat: My head says I can eat this.
Me: Your head is wrong.
Ava: Pretend my head is right,
Ava (chanting): Do it! Do it! Do it!
Age 3: Ava: I’m just feeling a little worried. About pizza.
Berkleigh: Why are you worried about pizza?
Ava: I might not get more.
Berkleigh: Do you want more?
Age 3: Ava: What does A-L-V spell?
Me: It doesn’t really spell anything, but it would be pronounced “Alv.”
Ava: I spelled a new word!
Age 4: “Rocket School,” the badass name Ava came up with for “The Magic School Bus.”
Age 3: “My name’s Bobo. I have a broken leg. Is that a funny joke?”
Age 3: As I was changing Jonas’ diaper, Ava came plowing into me.
Ava: I was just being Batman.
Me: I don’t think Batman would push someone over on top of a baby.
Ava: Sometimes he does.
Age 3: Ava: What’s that? A crap tomato?
Me: Crab apple.
Age 3: Ava: I made a puppet at school. His name is Mr. P. I mean B.
Me: What does the B stand for?
Age 3: Tucking Ava in at bedtime:
Me: “I’m so proud of you … And you bring so much joy to mommy, daddy and all the people who love you.”
Ava: “awww, that’s so sweet of me!!”
Age 3: Ava made a weird noise while I read to her.
Me: What are you doing?
Ava: I was just following my dreams.
I thought that was really cute, so when she did it again I said:
“Are you following your dreams?”
Ava: No, I was swallowing my germs.
Age 3: Ava: My neighbors have a pool. I don’t have a pool.
Me: You do at Papa and Didis.
Ava: Don’t tell me the truth!
Age 3: Ava requested that I pick her up.
Me: How was your day?
Ava: Leave me alone.
I started to set her down…
Ava: Leave me alone while I’m being up!
Age 2: Ava, crying in the back seat of my car because I made her wear her socks, boots and a seat belt:
“MY BRIGHT EYES ARE WET, DADDY!”
Age 2: Ava: Only rabbits like orange carrots.
Berkleigh: I love carrots.
(Slamming her knee with each word) Ava: Only! Rabbits! Like! Carrots!
Age 2: Granda: Ava, do you like jokes?
Ava (pointing at Jonas): Yeah, he’s right here.
Age 2: “Yeardley (our dog) has growly teeth. I have happy teeth!”