Anne has begun saying words.
She’s recognized that “da-da” isn’t just a fun repetition of syllables, but an actual person, her daddy. I’ll hand her something and say, “Take it to Da-da, Li’l Boo,” and she takes it to Da-da. It’s really funny because I’ll hand her something that Da-da doesn’t particularly want—like one of those surfboard-sized maxi-pads she keeps getting into when the rifles through our bathroom cabinets. And Da-da has to act all thankful: “Why thank you, Li’l Boo, for this nice maxi-pad!” Kinda reminds me of when Beau the Cat used to bring us dead birds and mice. Our hearts broke for the little creatures, but we had to show appreciation all the same.
But enough of “da-da.” Let’s move on to “ma-ma.” Because she has begun calling me Mama! Yes, after months of “da-da-da-da-da,” she finally said “Mama.” And she definitely associates that repeated syllable with me. Dan will pick her up and she’ll reach out to me, plaintively calling, “Ma-ma! Ma-ma!” She says “Ma-ma” as she walks toward me and grabs my knees in a leg-hug. (I love that!) If she wakes up in the middle of the night, I’ll hear whimpering and “Ma-ma.” Who can say no to that?
I’m sure there will come the day when I want her to stop saying “Mama” so much. But we’re not even close to that at this point!
Here are a few more words she’s actually said (or tried to say):
choo (when she plays with Mo’s trains; I think it’s shorthand for “choo-choo”)
vroom (or something like that, when she plays with Mo’s cars)
bye-bye (when waving bye-bye to me this morning)
goose (pointing at Mother Goose in one of her books)
shoe (when I put her shoes on)
teeth (I said, “Let’s go brush your teeth,” and she put her hands to her mouth and said “tee!”)
pee (She said this last night when we got to “P” in The Hidden Alphabet. I think she’s familiar with this word, too, since we talk about “going to pee.”)
ba-a-a-a (the sheep sound)
moo (the cow sound)
There are more words, but I can’t think of them off the top of my head right now. She’s also learned just about all of her body parts. And she rubs her belly when she’s hungry—Angela taught her that.
Anne continues to be “into” books. She seems to have the bibliophile gene, which I guess is not surprising. She reads all day at Angela’s. When we got home last night, she went straight to her room, grabbed a book, and stood by my rocking chair, looking expectantly at me. So we read before dinner, and then we read after dinner. Book after book after book.
I’m sure this is just a phase, but ... I hope it’s not just a phase. It wasn’t just a phase with me. I’ve loved books all my life—not just the stories, but the binding, the smell of the pages, the appearance of the ink, everything. Maybe she’ll grow up with that same appreciation (even though she'll probably be asking for her own e-reader by the time she's five). I think it helps that we have hundreds of books around the house.
I’m really looking forward to taking her to the zoo this spring or summer. It feels kind of silly, introducing her to all these animals, and the sounds they make, when all she can see are pictures in books. I want her to see real animals and hear real sounds (and smell real smells!). Right now she knows that a cow says “moo,” but she doesn’t know what that really means.
Once the weather is warmer, I’m taking her to see cows. There are plenty of them in this rural part of the country. Horses, too. And flowers, and lizards, and mushrooms. There’s a whole world out there for her to discover, and I am eager to begin sharing it with her.