As a lover of words, it fascinates me to watch Aiden's vocabulary and language skills develop. He has been speaking fairly complete sentences for a few months now, but just in the last week, he has had a few firsts in his repertoire of speech. For instance, he came out with, "I miss Grampa" clear as a bell, the other day. Not "Where Grampa?" as he usually does; I had never heard him say, " I miss" before.
And he's picked up on the word "sweetie," which is not that surprising, as it is bandied about our house quite a lot. But to hear oneself referred to as "sweetie-Mama" or "sweetie-Daddy" is quite charming. As we were leaving a store the other day, he called out to the cashier, "Bye, sweetie!"
And the word "why" has suddenly appeared. Oh boy. I find myself going down all sorts of crazy rabbit trails in response to this word, trying to answer his "why" questions as much as I can. Veteran parents will probably chuckle in mild scorn at this statement. I know sooner or later, probably sooner, my ability and desire to answer the why questions will be exhausted. ( KJ, he was asking "why" in regards to rain the other day, and I thought to myself, "The water cycle! Condensation! Evaporation! Precipitation!" Perhaps not in that exact order, and perhaps I have left something out, but... I didn't go there.I think I took the cop out route, which was something about how plants need a drink...which didn't totally satisfy him.) I have a feeling that this word is here to stay for a while. It simultaneously brings me thrill and dread because the word "why" is a vehicle of mysterious origin that carries you through gates of curiosity, into all kinds of realms of knowledge of good and evil. And he's just boarded that vehicle.
But the most memorable one to me this week was, "I love you, Mama!" He has said the words, "love you" before, but always in response to when I said, "I love you" to him. And a lot of times, he used to just make a kissing noise after I told him I loved him, and I understood that was his way of saying it. This time, he said it out of the blue, joyfully, when I had not said anything to him. A moment and feeling I will never forget. And he has been following it up with, "You're special, Mama!" I just about DIE every time. I don't really know where he got that, because I don't really use that exact phrase, so he can't be copy-catting me. I'd always heard that it is a powerful moment in a parent's life, when they first hear their child say, "I love you." And all I can say is Yes, it certainly is.
It is good that his cuteness to me is on the increase, because these days, as he leaves babyhood farther behind and moves upward into the pre-schooler phase, his tendencies to whine, manipulate, throw tantrums and generally make mischief are steadily on the rise as well. I guess it is to be expected - he is two and a half, after all. ( Expected, but not accepted, of course. I will not bow to this stage. I am definitely opposed to brats.) Only this evening, he came to me, and calmly deposited a dirty diaper from the pail into my disbelieving hand. Thankfully, he had not opened it up or littered his room with the rest of the contents of said pail. I know more than one story of fecal malfeasance by children. (Knock on wood - he could still do it, I know.)( And I know that as of right now, this is more of an "exploring the world" thing, not a naughtiness thing. The diaper pail is right there in his room, after all. Hmmmm.) I still think he's not quite ready to tackle potty-training full force ( we have had a few fruitless sessions on the potty), but I think it's a sign that once the child goes dumpster diving in the diaper pail, that the plot is thickening in the potty chapter. But I digress...I WAS talking about vocabulary. How did this become a treatise on toilet training?
All this to say, as the stakes increase and the game becomes more complicated, it's nice to have certain compensations, like hearing, "I love you, Mama! You're special, Mama!"