Saturday, April 10, 2010

Uncle Toe

            Saturdays are particularly wonderful for connecting with Celia. Michelle gets to sleep in, which she is always thrilled about. And I get to spend mornings with my daughter, which happens to be her most wonderfully calm and engaged time of the day.
            She woke up hungry, and I said, “Let’s make breakfast. What do you want?”
            She looked at me. Okay, I guess her language isn’t developed enough for that yet.
            “Do you want pancakes? Oatmeal? Eggs?”
            She stared up at me, then pointed to the bowl of grapes on the counter. “Gape!”
            “Okay, you can have some grapes.”
            In the end, I pulled some frozen huckleberries from Montana out of the freezer and made huckleberry-banana pancakes. Maybe Celia didn’t know how to say pancake at the beginning of the day, but she definitely knew how to say it by the end. “Pancake! Pancake!” she called out all throughout the day, as we’d feed her little bites from the leftovers.
            Her language is developing rapidly, and also awkwardly. There are certain letters, like “R” and “F” that she doesn’t pronounce, so she just makes stuff off in place of them. “Butterfly” becomes “Butt-a-boo.” “Mirror” becomes “Mia.”
            She also gets confused when there are more than two syllables. It’s like there’s too much to keep track of in her mind. My good buddy Will came over to go out for sushi, then a walk by the ocean and visiting the hundreds of heron nests nearby. We had a delightful day out in the sun, and Celia was in top form. But my favorite moment happened when we arrived back home.
            I said, “Celia. That’s Uncle Will. Can you say, ‘Uncle Will.’”
            “Uncle.” Celia said, looking at me.
            “Yes. Now say his name. Will. Say, ‘Uncle Will.’”
            She went over to my friend and looked at his foot, then said, “Uncle Toe!”
            “Uncle Toe.” I smiled and looked at Will. “Looks like you’ve got your new nickname.”
            Will laughed. I think the charm with kids this age is you just don’t know what to expect next.

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