It is one of my favorite times of the day. I am sitting at my computer, trying to squeeze in a little writing before BabyC wakes up. I like the writing part, but I especially like listening to BabyC wake up over the baby monitor. She often hangs out in her crib for a while in the mornings, talking and singing, before she starts calling to me. She seems to use this time to practice new words and sounds.
This morning, the topic of her monologue is “pip.” Pips, known as “pits” to the older crowd, are the small, round, hard objects found in the center of plums, peaches and cherries. These fruits are in season now, and we have eaten a lot of them. BabyC enjoys the challenge of finding the hard “pip” with her teeth and then spitting it out.
“Pip. Pip. Huh? Pip? Yeah. Pip!” That’s how the monologue went this morning.
A more common monologue is this one:
“Bubba. Bubba? Bubba. Aiyash? Aiyash. Aiyash. Dadda? Dadda! Mommy. Mommy. Mommy. Dadda. Bubba. Aiyash. Mommy? Mooooommy… Mommy! Mommy!”
BabyC runs through every member of our family. “Bubba” is her name for our dog, Yuba. She calls the cat “Aiyash,” though her name is Shasta, and I’m not sure how she switched the syllables around like that.
We have this conversation at almost every transition in our day. When BabyC gets up, she wants me to tell her where every member of the family is.
“Daddy is sleeping in bed. He worked late last night. We’ll see him when he wakes up.”
“Shasta is snuggled with Daddy in bed, sleeping too.”
“Yuba’s right here, waiting for us to take him outside to pee!” Yuba is in fact dancing around the room and sneaking in licks to BabyC’s face when he gets a chance.
We have this conversation when we sit down for breakfast, when we go for a walk, when we get in the car to run an errand or go to the library, when we prepare for naptime, when she wakes up from her nap, and again at bedtime. Sometimes we have to run through the list several times before she is satisfied. BabyC is keeping tabs on everyone.
When we went on a trip to Vermont last month, BabyC asked about Bubba and Aiyash constantly, at least 10 times per day, again at transition times. We would usually try to guess what Yuba and Shasta were doing at home.
“Shasta is at home. Maybe she is out for a walk around the neighborhood.”
“Yuba is at home. He is probably taking a nap right now.”
“Yeah,” she would say, nodding in agreement. She missed our family pets while we were away.
I love these conversations with BabyC. They are sweet. It is clear that she knows who her family members are, and she knows that though each of us is loved and valued by her, we are separate from her.
It seems to me that this represents a major milestone in my child’s life. Continue reading