I am a poor record-keeper. Which is a bit odd, since I enjoy writing, but somehow these things–the days of first steps, first words, trials and triumphs–they escape my notice. This attitude was quite solidified the first time E got into some “precious” item of my own past and did it some damage, and I realized that the here-and-now reality of my little daughter was more important to me than the memory of times and people past. Things burn and turn to dust. And I struggle, likewise, with finding events particularly important in the context of eternity: far too much, I think; there is surely some value in baby books and memorials, and it is my own fault for having trouble finding it.
At any rate, E’s life has been more chronicled than R’s, in no small part because people bugged me about it more. Did you write it down? Did you get her footprints stamped? Did you send off for her birth certificate? (Yes, we do have R’s birth certificate, but it was literally months later in arriving than E’s was!) But there is one thing that has really struck me lately about R, and so I thought it was perhaps worth a post: I do believe the child talks more now, at 14 months, than E did even on her second birthday. It’s probably E’s “fault,” because she talks to R from sunup to sundown and R’s vocabulary is clearly reflective of her elder sister’s more than my own. And I’m not implying a difference in intelligence, either: I frankly don’t really follow milestones at all anymore, but I’m pretty sure there’s a wide range of “normal” in speech development and the girls’ personalities could easily put them at opposite ends of the spectrum even without their own interactions. That said; R’s words, as nearly as I can recall them all; words she says spontaneously/unprompted, consistently, and clearly:
- names: Ellie, Mommy, Daddy, Mammaw, Grandad
- bye, hi, night night, mmm-wee, up, me, I (love you), awwww, whee, please, no, baby, milk, eat, boo, uh-oh, ice, eyes
- she sings, semi-recognizably (you can tell which one she’s trying for): ring around the rosie, the alphabet song, twinkle twinkle, itsy bitsy spider, and old macdonald
I also want to remember something that is incredibly special to me to watch: while the girls have long played with each other–and nicely–lately they’ve actually been moving into a stage of being actively affectionate with each other. It astounds me to see how patient E is with R’s physically clumsy attempts to hug, tickle, tackle, and give her kisses, and it’s also unfathomably neat to see R initiating said hugs and playfulness instead of just being on the receiving end all the time. There are few moments in my entire life that have made me as happy and almost giddy as walking into a room and finding them sitting next to each other playing, “reading” a book together, or just plain hanging out. They have their small moments of disgruntledness, but they’re much less than I’d expect given that they’re both still pretty clumsy (prone to flatly knocking each other down by accident!) and that the lines of communication are distinctly limited.