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.