Moments in Parenthood: Noun, Adjective
My daughter Twyla did the cutest thing yesterday. This will go quick.
She’s about 22 months old now, and been a little slow to develop vocabulary, (at least compared to my older son Devo, who was super-verbal early on). But Twyla has always had strong comprehension, and over the past couple of months it’s clicked for her that words are powerful tools, even if she doesn’t yet have so many to use. Mostly she speaks in single nouns and points at things. Which means less of the vague, directionless screaming we’ve been living with for years! This is good for everyone.
Yesterday afternoon I told Twyla I was hungry, poured some tomato soup into a bowl, and set the microwave for two minutes or so. Then I sat down at the dining room table and looked at my phone and zoned out thinking about something while she played with some blocks. Solid parenting. I didn’t really process that the microwave had beeped a few times when she came over and tugged on my arm.
I stare into space, not really listening.
“Daddy. Shoop. Shoop! Shoop.”
I finally turn and look down at her.
Then I thanked her, and kissed her, and retrieved my soup! This is porbably the closest thing to a sentence that she’s ever spoken. But of course those two words were a window into some advanced, abstract thinking: she understood that I had prepared soup; she knows the mysterious microwave functions as a machine that heats up food; she knows the beeping means that machine has finished; and she wanted to help me remember to eat my lunch. I’d told her I was hungry, after all.
I know it can be annoying when parents delight in this stuff. But raising children means observing and absorbing so many tiny steps forward, as their minds and bodies develop, as entirely new capabilities and fields of understanding come online. And most of the time, they never really move backwards. Twyla will never be unable to tell me that my soup is ready.
As of a few weeks ago, she will always know how to climb up and go down the little slide at the playground behind Devo’s school, all by herself.