Transitions in Toddlerhood

Cordelia is at that age now where we are never quite sure what to expect from day to day. Some days, or even only for a few moments, she acts as if she is still a baby. But then other times she surprises us with a new phrase, or a new action, that makes us realize just how quickly she’s growing into a little girl and no longer just a baby.

I used to think that language was a slow, gradual development, something that is slowly acquired and practiced, with small steps forward each day. Cordy would learn a new word here or there, or learn a new way to apply a word, but each step forward sometimes had a step back, or a period of rest before moving on to the next lesson to master.

In the past week, however, it’s as if she has grown months all at once. Her language abilities have exploded, and she’s now asking us questions in full sentences, and showing a new grasp for vocabulary that we have never seen before. I don’t know if she was simply gathering her knowledge over weeks, processing that information, and then all at once figured out the secrets to communication, but in just one week we have reached a point where we can expect her to understand us, and even expect her to respond as well.

This morning, I went into her room to free her from her crib (she’s always awake before me), and she looked up at me and said “Hi, mommy! Itza beeeuuwwtiful day!” I was a bit stunned by this articulate greeting.

As we walked past Aaron, with a towel wrapped around him, she looked at him and said, “Daddy, baff?” Aaron laughed and replied, “Yes, daddy had a bath.” He then told me that when he brought her home last night, he had noticed that she was talking a lot more in comprehendible sentences. When they got home last night, she immediately asked him for a drink, letting him know she was thirsty.

And then, as I changed her diaper this morning, she reached over and played with her pirate ship, then looked right at me and said, “Hey mommy, are you a piwate?”

I know these little progressions certainly aren’t astounding for a child this age, but having it all come at once amazes me. It’s like she’s been holding out on us for a long time, or perhaps the laws of language and communication suddenly made sense to her.

Toddlerhood really is a long bridge between infancy and childhood, and we’re now at the point on the bridge where the land of childhood is coming into view, and the world of infancy is fading into the mist. She’s doing more for herself now, and expressing her wishes and dislikes with more than whining and crying.

Just this morning she pulled her pants up on her own while getting dressed, something she’s never been interested in trying before. In fact, she now is forming opinions about clothing, too. Where before she let us put anything on her, she now wants a hand in choosing what she wears, starting with which jacket she wears. Each morning she will only put on the jacket she wants for the day. If we try to convince her to put the green one on, she will push it away and walk to the coat stand, saying, “No, purple! Purple!” if she wants to wear the purple jacket. No amount of reasoning will work at this point.

Of course, reasoning will have to come later, as she nears the end of toddlerhood and steps off that bridge into childhood (and even then, reasoning is still a process). Until that time, we will simply have to pick our battles, and she will continue to toss off her hat in sunny weather, and then wear nothing but her hat while in the house.

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  1. I love the explosion of vocabulary. Communicating with a toddler is delightful. They can say the most hilarious things!

    Plus when my oldest starts to have a tantrum, we tell her to use her words and it helps immensely.

  2. Hey — if it’s astounding to you, than that’s all that matters.

    I love the piwate — cute.

    Did you tell her, NO I’m a renaissance maid, thank you very much. 🙂

  3. The fun will continue! Elizabeth blows me away everyday. I love kids 🙂

  4. My second turned 2 in August and I am also amazed at the leaps he makes with his vocabulary. This morning he said “have you seen my green and yellow binky?”

    Umm, excuse me, when did the 10 year old get here? 🙂 Sounds like your daughter is a darling!

  5. Cordy is just amazing. I love reading about her milestones. And the piwate is definitely too cute.

    The only sentence I’ve heard from Dawson is “Mine! Give it back!”

    I almost fell over.

  6. This is a beautiful post, Christina. (And a beautiful photo!) If she has inherited your facility with words, she will be *more* than a force to be reckoned with.

  7. It’s so amazing how it literally happens over night! It’s so bittersweet to see kids grow up, isn’t it? At least you have another one on the way to keep you in the baby era for a little longer!

  8. Aww, cute picture of Cordy! I think girls seem to master the art of language much quicker than boys. It seemed like it took forever for my son to talk – we couldn’t really understand what he was saying at all until he was about 2 1/2. Nice post.

  9. One of my favorite “talking” stories was when my son was three and we were driving home and he wanted to go to McDonald’s. I told him that we were going home to eat and he said, “I don’t want to go home. I want to friggin’ eat at Old McDonald’s!” Trying not to laugh I asked him why he used that word and he said, “Because that’s what Daddy says when he’s angry and I’m friggin’ angry!”

    Aren’t they cute?

  10. Toddlers are strange creatures that’s for sure. Nata did what Cordy did. One day it was a word here and there and the next she was talking in complete sentances. Still amazes me.

    Reasoning works better now with Maya and she’s almost (gulp) five and sometimes Nata, but not always.

  11. I am new to this blog and want to add you daughter is adorable. My question is how are all those DVD’s stacked so nicely? My (toddler) daughter would have them all over the floor! 😉