Thursday, March 7, 2013

An avalanche of amazing

We've all heard the stories. You know, the ones where a beloved friend (or member of the family) utters a phrase and that's the moment that the resident toddler chooses to parrot back what they've heard?

A week and a half ago, I was fretting that Genevieve wasn't really talking. Sure, she was babbling up a storm, but she wasn't using very many *words*.

"She is FINE," Mom assured me. "Once she starts talking, she'll never stop."
"My soul, my heart..."
In the following few days, an avalanche of amazing things happened.

First, it was time for a snack. Clear as a bell, "Apple." Then, pointing at Niki, "Dog." On the changing table, "Diap[er]! Diap[er]!" Asking for Mom, "Gramma!" The icing on the cake? She called my dad by  his special name- the one that translates to "Daddy Darling". (I don't need to tell you that he turned into a great big Grandpa puddle.)
One, two, three, WHEEEE!
And then Mom proved what I had been reading about in The Scientist in the Crib (which is SUCH a good book), about passive language. According to Dr. Gopnik (and common sense, once you think about it), you understand language before you can speak it.

Genevieve slipped out of one of her shoes. Mom asked Genevieve to please bring her the shoe so Mom could help her put it back on. Except that Mom didn't ask her in English.

Genevieve looked at Mom, picked up her shoe, walked over to Mom, handed her the shoe, then gave the "up" signal. Message received, understood, and responded to.

(For the record, Mom was super smug. And rightly so.)

Then, on Saturday, the most incredible thing happened.

We were having lunch at the table, Genevieve looked over at Andrew and repeated a phrase we've all said a million times, clear as a bell.

"I love you."

Not "luh dada". Just, "I love you".

I was so overjoyed, I thought my heart would burst out of my chest. And then it would tap dance on the table. This is one of those Mommy Moments where you forget about all the hard things, and all you can do is be in the moment and soak up all those incredible, amazing, oxytocin-enhanced feelings.

I looked to Mom and Andrew. They heard it, too. And she said it again, later. And again, after asking for "Gramma" when Genevieve was getting ready for bed.

Mouse wrestling
I was right; It's just like the song says. Children will listen.


  1. So beautiful! I can't wait till little G gets her own segment on the podcast.

    Seriously, thanks so much for sharing these moments with us!

  2. This just made my heart swell to read, and the pictures are beautiful. Thank you for sharing your family with us.

  3. That is awesome! I must confess to being a little weepy after reading this. :)
    Of course Genevieve is developing by leaps and bounds - how else could it be with such a bright little girl and such great parenting?

  4. PS - LOVE that last picture of the two of you, with Genevieve's sweater coordinating with your hair!

  5. Your post brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing these special moments with us.

  6. I cried the first time my son said I love you mommy.

  7. I'll just be over here, in a little puddle of teary eyed mush.

    You have such a wonderful way with words, it's no wonder Genevieve is picking up on them!

  8. I'm glad I'm not the only one confessing to tears right now :-)

  9. I nearly cried too and I'm the least maternal person in the world. Lovely to share how Genevieve is growing up.

  10. That is so awesome! I love those mommy moments.

    In the last few months we've started getting a lot of giggles out of D who is 6 months now. Just the other day, though, my DH was playing with him and his feet and D started doing the hysterical baby laugh that is too amazing. Made my tear up with so much love and happiness. Those moments that give you the Parent of the Century feeling are so great.

  11. I know a way to make her language even better and more fun for all, if that's possible. Just have lots of "conversations" with her with you saying both parts. Like, "Shall we go for a walk now?" and then YOU ANSWER YOURSELF "Yes, Mommy, I'd love to go to the park!" You can do this all day long. It's very amusing and you will be amazed at how this eliminates problems like "me want that" completely. Since there is no older sibling to model conversations on, especially, babies need to hear their half to know what to say. And yes, they totally understand before they can speak the words. Congratulations, if that's the word, on having such an adorable child. PS There is no field for email in the comment box :(.

  12. That is so exciting about the talking!!!! Especially the "I love you." That would freaking melt my heart.

    Your hair is such an awesome color.

  13. Jasmin,
    something to keep in mind. Kids from bilingual families may take a bit longer to use words and talk in sentences. Their brains are processing twice as much language information. However, once they do start talking, they are easily fluent in two languages. Something that many Americans cannot do, but is so useful! A linguist joke for illustration: if you speak three languages, you are multi-lingual, if you speak two languages you are bilingual, if you speak one language, you are American.

  14. My younger son invented his own language and used it until he was almost 4, when he reluctantly decided that English was an acceptable alternative.

    As long as you keep exposing her to communication, she'll get it.


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