The race to grow up |

The race to grow up

Christina M. Currie

Katie can count to ten. She gets distracted every now and then and needs prompting, so I haven’t actually heard her go all the way from one to ten, but I’ve heard enough to know she can say all the numbers (it’s adorable, six is sick with a hardy stress in the “ck”).

She shocked me the other night when we were driving to the grocery store. When we’re in the car I count or sing the alphabet to entertain her. Sometimes she helps, but most times she ignores me and bombards me with a hundred “wat’s tha?”

But she astounded me when she followed my five with her “sick, sebn.”

You see, she’s not very cooperative and I’ve only heard her get all the way from one to five when she thought she was alone. Until then we thought the only thing she knew came after three was “yeah!”

So, I started over hoping to hear her say those numbers again.

Of course, knowing I was prompting her, she ignored me. I said “one” and she added “too” and “free.”

I had to supply four. She gave me “fibe,” but no amount of prompting would she repeat six and seven. So I did.

She countered with “ate,” “nine,” and “ten.”

I almost pulled over right there to jump up and down.

I’m not sure what the people in the grocery store thought of me hunched over the cart saying in my prompting voice “one, two ” while Katie was trying to pry open the new bottle of baby bath soap with her teeth, freeing them only to say “wat’s tha?”

I love taking her to the grocery store. She’s so enthralled with the lights and the shelves full of color and variety. It has it’s down points. She steals grapes out of the bag, leaves teeth marks in the hot dogs, pries the lid open on the box of crackers and one time spent the entire trip sitting on the pork chops. By the time I get to the check out counter, my groceries look like they’ve been air dropped to a third-world country.

But each time we go, she learns a new thing. Or rather, I learn about something new she knows.

And man, she’s learning a lot.

In the bath tub the other night she surprised me by singing “tweenkl, tweenkl, star” with proud emphasis on “star.”

I hadn’t sung that song to her in who knows how long and I couldn’t believe she remembered. But, to keep my head from getting too big, she won’t say “little” if it kills her.

My husband still hasn’t heard her sing it. In fact, when I rushed home from the store boasting she could count to ten, did she oblige with a demonstration? No. She buried herself in a blanket to play hide-and-seek and got stuck.

Evidently the magic switch got hit when she turned two and now Katie’s vocabulary is growing by leaps and bounds. She’s a little parrot. She loves to repeat words, especially if they’re commanding words like “no,” “don’t” or “stop it.”

She goes on a word frenzy out at the ranch when she hears someone yelling at a dog.

She loves to be in charge.

By contrast, she sweetly says “tank yoo” two dozen times a day, “bess yoo” and “hug.” She’s so free with her kisses that when it’s time to say goodbye, she forms her mouth into a strong pucker and stays that way until we’re out the door.

In contrast to that, she refuses absolutely refuses to say please. She can do it. I heard her say it accidentally once, but there is no treat sweet enough to coax it out of her mouth again. Instead, she’ll give you a kiss and hope that suffices.

She also says “oh sit!”

I’m going to delude myself into believing she thinks our legs are tired when she says that.

What I enjoy the most about her newfound vocabulary are the conversations she has with herself.

“Want down?” she’ll ask herself from her perch on the couch.

“K,” she’ll answer and then get down.

She’s a constant source of amusement and as she flies ahead in both movement and thought, her baby sister watches and tries vainly to catch up.

Where Katie’s first words will be remembered as “wat’s tha,” a sign of curiosity, Nikki’s first word will probably be “don’t,” a sign of her sister’s influence.

Nikki, nearly a year old, can, I think, move forward on her hands and knees, but insists on keeping her speedy army crawl.

She’s fast, but not fast enough. As Katie runs down the hall into her bedroom, Nikki snakes after her, but gets about halfway before her sister reappears to run into the kitchen.

Nikki pivots on her stomach and heads toward the kitchen (which is where we like her because between her belly crawl and her drool, she acts as both a broom and mop), but she doesn’t make it far before Katie laps her again and heads back into the bedroom.

Nikki gets upset because she can’t keep up.

Someday she will. In the race to grow up, she’ll eventually catch her sister then they’ll both lap me.

They’re nearly there already.

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