It’s amazing what a chatterbox you’ve become. You’re coming right up on two years old and there’s not a moment of silence around you. You’re laughing and singing your children’s songs the entire time when we go for a run, while we’re in the car, as you tear through the house looking starting mischief, or while you’re standing in your crib, patiently avoiding a nap. And there are so many flavors of real, connected language outside singing coming out of you that it’s hard to capture all of it, but I’ll give it a shot.
First, we’ve got clear-cut orders. Instead of any sort of generic fussing when something’s not right you well tell us exactly what to do. This began as succinct noun: verb combos; when we’re done with bath and you think it’s time for a story with Mama, you’ll demand “Mama: GET HER.” Like I can just summon her, right? Well, actually I thought this was funny and started doing a special whistle (much to your glee), after which she’d coming walking in… so now you chant “Work! Work!” until it happens. So we are fully to blame for this one, but it’s pretty darn cute.
We get orders when you drop something too, like “Foon: GET IT”. You know it’s a spoon, but find it hilarious to intentionally mis-pronounce it like a baby. Kind of like Yaya and Migu, which are yougurt and oatmeal. If I call them yogurt and oatmeal you’ll insist they’re yaya and migu, but if I use those you look at me like I’m an idiot and slowly say “oat-meal” to make sure I get it right. Thanks for that.
Second, we’re getting some very cute insights and little comebacks from you when we least expect it. I was playing music for you on my iPhone and, as you usually do now whether it’s at home or in the car, incessantly ask for “next one!” whenever you want another track. The concept of “just having to listen to what’s on” has clearly escaped you growing up in a world of on-demand music devices (and pushover parents?). But anyway, you kept doing this to me and I finally said “Cayden, I feel like I’m just your iPhone”. Well, you beamed up at me and said “No, Dada… iPad!” Heart warmed, you win. Or when I’m about to help you out with something, you’ll step in, look up, and deftly say “No Dada, I got it.” So proud!
Plus, your judgement on things is no longer strictly black and white; when something isn’t quite right but you don’t care or just want to move on you’ll loudly declare “Good eee-nuff!”, and you find it even funnier when you know it’s something we can’t live with (like both legs in the same pant leg… or only one of five hundred peas picked up off the floor). I’ve even had you interrupt me when I’m admonishing you for not putting something away with a wry “Dada… calm DOWN!”, which Mama finds particularly cute.
Third, we’re getting a full dose of what we’ve affectionately named Baby’s Remorse. You are so stubborn that you’ll make up your mind on something – even when it’s a ridiculous position to hold – and then stick to it no matter what else we say. For instance, you didn’t get a fourth drink of water so now you don’t want to play piano. “Piano? “No. Napping.” “Are you sure?” “NAPPING.” “Okay… then I’m leaving, goodnight.” “… AHHHH! PIANO PIANO PIANO!” … and that’s what we call baby’s remorse. We can literally step out of the room and count to five and you’ll cave, but it’s pretty cute that you are at least trying to put your foot down on a few things.
Fourth, we’re getting more of those questions that really tear at the heartstrings, like “miss me?” when I came back from a few days of travel for work – and then every morning and evening for the week after that. I feel pretty bad for that one. Or when you can tell something just isn’t quite right with one of us you’re not afraid to ask “Dada, okay?” and “Mama, okay?”. If anything this has made us really aware of what sort of mood we’re projecting around you – even if it has nothing to do with you – but also trying to take more time to explain exactly how we feel and why so that you’re not worried. It seems to be helping a little bit with your own emotions too when you get really mad, we’ll ask how you feel, and you can start hinting at what the underlying frustration is.
Lastly, there is one thing you still don’t get which for whatever reason seems more problematic for me than your Mama, and leads to much hilarity: sarcasm. The fact that you can now perfectly understand (and follow) nearly any directions I give, yet have zero concept of sarcasm, make for some amusing consequences. I think the first of these happened while we were out at pizza, you were sort of making a lazy mess of your face face with it, and I said “Buddy, please just eat those…” – and then, when you kept doing it, “… wow, or just smear it all over your face.” Well, you cracked the biggest smile, picked up all the pizza and sauce you could muster, and did indeed smear it all over your face. I couldn’t stop laughing and Mama looked at me like I was the toddler.
Another one happened just tonight while you were tearing around your bedroom and I said “Seriously, why don’t you just climb into your crib and put yourself to bed then!”, and you immediately ran over to your crib, started climbing it (from the outside!), determined to do just that. So… while I’m fairly proud that you’ve yet to swear or really say anything inappropriate on our account (woohoo!), I’m astoundingly bad at curbing the sarcasm sometimes and granting you permission to do all those crazy things you know aren’t allowed. You’re welcome.
At least through all of this we know that the two-way verbal communication is the real deal now. After almost two years of heartfelt nonverbal, emotional, physical connection it’s so satisfying to just be able ask you something and get a (reasonably) thoughtful answer, or have you tell us what you did at school (usually a list of friends and/or food), or what’s wrong. You’re counting up a storm, pointing out letters of the alphabet, and showing us your imagination when a knot in a piece of wood looks like an animal, and we couldn’t be prouder. I won’t pretend you actually do what we ask all, or even most of the time – but it’s great to see you soaking it all up, learning, and firing it back at us so fast!