Now that my twins have started kindergarten, I’m getting more one-on-one time with my toddler. This newfound intimacy is coinciding with the burst of language development that happens for most children between the ages of 2 and 3.
As previously noted, conversing with my 2-year-old can be frequently tedious. But with my 5-year-olds out of the house more often, I’m finally listening to what Jane actually has to say. I must admit that I’m discovering our discourse to be, at times, startlingly informative.
For instance, this morning after drop-off, I was cutting up some fruit.
“Why you buy watermelon?” Jane asked.
“Because you love it, right?”
“No,” she said. “I don’t.”
At the grocery store, I was singing along to Rod Stewart’s “You’re in my Heart,” when Jane interrupted me.
“I want my song,” she said.
“‘Sweet Baby Jane?’” I asked, referring to the James Taylor tune she has renamed after herself.
“Yes,” she said. “It’s a more prettier.”
When Jane wants to do something – like empty my bathroom drawer of its brushes and hair ties – she asks, “Mommy, cam I?” instead of “Can I?”
“Alright” from Jane sounds like “Oh, right!” If I bang my knee, Jane wants to know, “Why mommy say, ‘Ooof!’?” And these days, upon rising, she proudly shouts, “I didn’t squawk!”
Jane told me before nap, yesterday, that she “always watches the weather and then ‘Caillou,’” referring to my habit of checking The Weather Channel before switching on her favorite show. And while riding in the minivan with the windows open, Jane informed me, after shedding her shoes, that her socks “blew away.”
After a recent nap, Jane was sitting in bed, looking at a book. “The hamster dumped out the paint!” she cried. “I show you!” But after flipping back and forth through several pages, Jane looked up disappointed. “Awwww,” she said. “I cam’t find it!”
In the car yesterday, Jane noted that she had “made some gas.”
“Say, ‘Excuse me,’” I replied.
“I didn’t burp,” she retorted.
And while I was stretching after a recent run, Jane sprawled out beside me, saying, “I stretch, too.” Then she wrinkled her nose. “Mommy stink,” she said, and moved away.
Yesterday, at the park, Jane spied the merry-go-round apparatus and cried, “Avocado!” Puzzled, I pushed her around three times before I realized she was referring to the dark, rough grips on the edges of the plastic tube.
And when another child’s grandfather helped Jane out of a tunnel – perhaps a little roughly – I inquired, “What do you say to the gentleman?” I was hoping for a quick “Thank you!” from Jane. Instead, she looked up at him and said, “Ouch!”
On our way back to the car, Jane kept telling me that she was a “little monster.”
“No,” I said. “You’re a little girl.”
“Nooooo!” she insisted. “I’m a little monster!”
Now that I'm finally listening, I guess I should take her at her word.