Does it ever seem that no matter how much you're around your children they just go and get bigger and smarter when you're not looking?
Just last night I realized Nikki had a neck. It really took me by surprise. I swear it was just yesterday her chin melded into her chest with no gap.
It never ceases to amaze me what sponges kids are, but I've really underestimated them.
It seems Katie knows a dozen new words a day. She's been able to say mom for awhile, but it seems just overnight that she's started saying "mommy," with a big question mark that indicates she's got something rather important to tell me.
And, no matter how many words she's learning, she never fails to respond with a stream of gibberish speckled with one or two statements I recognize.
The grand finale is when she ends with the lilt that indicates a question and looks at me to respond.
What do I say? I've got no clue what she just babbled on about, yet she looks at me like I should know just what she's saying.
I have a few generic responses that, for now, seem to satisfy her.
I'm going to count Nikki's second word ("don't" held that position for a short while, but it seems to have -- thankfully -- disappeared) as "mom."
Well, it's really more like ma-aaaaaaam! A long pleading whine that she voices only when she's clinging to my knees hoping to dislodge a wailing Katie from her primary position in my arms.
We've been practicing colors for quite awhile, but haven't quite gotten to white (colors are another thing she does well at when no one's looking, but can't seem to get straight in front of a crowd). I was pretty shocked when we drove home, admiring Christmas lights, and she said "white!"
It was the first of many surprises that night.
She (thanks to Barney) calls all hats "siyee" (as in silly) hats and she calls doors "come ins."
She was describing a picture in a book -- that's what gave me a heads up to that particular idiosyncrasy.
Then, she walked into the bedroom, picked up the Playstation controller and said "game?"
I blame that one on daddy.
She's still got an addiction to "no," except sometimes it means "yes." In that case she says "nokay." She's yet to spit out the entire "yes."
She's also taken a stab at "trismast" tree.
Luckily, she has yet to retain anything I would be embarassed to hear her say at the grocery store.
Once -- and only once -- she dropped her bottle and said "damn it Katie!"
Another time "oh sit!" slipped out. (It's hard to keep a straight face in these situations, because as much as you know there's a problem that will have to be fixed, the first time is so adorable you just want to break out laughing).
Those were jaw droppers, but they seemed to have leaked from her memory since then (though the lessons from them are still fresh in my mind).
But the best -- the very best -- of all is that she now says, "I love you."
I say it all the time, hoping, as always, that she spouts a responding term of endearment.
This week, she responded with an "I love you, too" of her own.
My heart melted and I made her say it about 37 more times before I'd put her down and stop hugging her.
Now, she'll say it only when the mood strikes, but she always says it with a smile.
That's my baby. "I love you" makes up for a hundred "no's."
My only hope is that she learned it from me or Barney, and not at the babysitters.
You see, there's kind of a love triangle going on there. The babysitter's son, a very charming, but devious boy of 3, and cousin Isiac compete constantly for Katie's attention (not a bad coup for my hairless girl).
"She's my Katie," is the battle cry.
Unfortunately, Cody's twin sister has a little crush in Isiac.
I fear blood will be let.
I tell you, you turn around for a second and they all grow up!
Is there a word for that?