Greetings and Salutations

I walked in the door last night to the same greeting I’ve received for nearly three months now:

Hiiiiiiii, MAMA!

Every night, it’s as though I’ve entered stage right of some game show set and there’s my toddler daughter, doing her best Bob Barker to welcome me to the episode already in progress. Her candor is really that spot-on. She clearly as a career option ahead of her.

And every night I mean to hit the record button on my phone before I turn the handle. This voice she has right now, this way about her, I know it’ll change. And it’s not that I think the emphasis will change, though let’s be realistic: God willing and the creek don’t rise, before I know it I’ll be greeted with a grunt or with a demand or a complaint better made with management, whoever that is.

But I forget, or for some reason she doesn’t belt out the ol’¬†“Hiiiiiiii, MAMA!” and I have to wait until another time.

Anyway, so last night I was greeted with¬†“Hiiiiiiii, MAMA!” and then a running commentary on everything I was carrying and/or doing or whatever was in the general vicinity and/or something she wanted:

“Purse! Tie! Pupa (puppy)! Dona-tug (Daniel Tiger, don’t ask how I know how to translate that here)! Wah-wah (water)!”

I didn’t know she’d made the connection to what a “purse” was, let alone know how to say it.

There haven’t been many parental worries I’ve had so far, aside from the usual when she has a fever, or takes a header into the bookcase. But what has sneaked up on me now and again is how in the hell is it that they learn stuff. Obviously I know how it happens, but one minute they’re gurgling and cooing on a changing table, commando-kicking the air with tightly sprung little legs and flapping arms, and the next they’re marching into your bedroom making the sign for “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and asking for the iPad by name so she can play her favorite app.

(We thought this week it was just her asking for an “apple” but now. She’s now clearly saying “iPad.”)

You go about your day, you get used to the routine of being a parent to a little one, and then one day you walk in the door and they provide you a reminder of how the game has changed again, and maybe it’s time to stop being so casual with our conversations.

(Abigail will learn a healthy respect for language, and understand time and place for certain words, and their power, but I feel confident that we’re happy to be part of the majority who’d rather be poked with cattle prods than find ourselves at a family gathering and hear our daughter correctly use the word “shit.”)

I am in awe and wonder of how much she is changing and growing and learning, because of or despite our best efforts. But perhaps it’s time to get a little more focused on recording that boisterous and joyful greeting.