And then I met someone who knows someone with a little girl who, at Little Miss’s age, could point to various flash cards when asked (Where’s a triangle? Where’s a circle? Where’s red? Where’s blue?). I also found out someone else's kid can make various animal noises (what sound does a cow make?), which puts me in a panic—Little Miss, we have work to do! So I get the flash cards out and start with triangle, circle and square. As I approach her with them, she takes them from me, one at a time, and proceeds to put them in her mouth like she would know the answers better if she tasted them first. Circle is sweet…triangle is tart. Got it. No, no, no, Little Miss, this isn’t mum-mum (our word for food; one I used when I was little). Who am I kidding? Everything’s edible to her. Some are just harder to chew than others, like the grocery cart. And obviously much, much more revolting too.
I give up at the sight of the mangled, soggy flash cards, disappointed I didn’t help her reach her Einstein potential sooner. So I resign myself on the couch in the living room and call to her to come to me from her play area. She walks over gingerly, each step a calculated move with her hands up in the air like an aerial acrobat. When she reaches me she demands, “Uh!” with an inflection that unmistakably means “Up!”, her arms outstretched and poised to be lifted, and so I do. She signs water with her hand, and I comply by offering her the sippy cup. After a few sips she makes an exaggerated, audible “ahhh”, grinning coyly at me because she knows it makes me laugh as she sounds like me after I down a huge glass of water. I ask, “do you want more?” and she shakes her head and uses her hands to sign “all done.” She then points to the door and says “dada”, probably missing her daddy who usually comes in through that door to throw her up in the air like a volleyball and make her giggle deliciously in the way only a one-year-old can.
It suddenly dawns on me, circle, square, oink and moo be damned. I can actually communicate with Little Miss! It was a challenge for the longest time, and I kick myself for not appreciating the fact that it’s no longer a constant struggle to decipher her tears. Hungry? Poopy? Gassy? Sleepy? Now she is better equipped to tell us just what she needs, which has curbed the frustrations for both parties quite a bit. Every day we make new discoveries together as we abandon the structured play so she could learn something for more mommy and baby laugh, cuddle and sing time where she still learns something.
So screw the Joneses and what their kids can do. My daughter knows telekinesis! No lie – all she has to do is look at me and smile, and I will move all the way across the room towards her to give her tiny frame a squeeze. And when I ask, “Kiss mama?” she responds enthusiastically with her mouth wide open, planting a big wet one on my lips and my heart melts instantly.
Who needs Einstein when I have my Little Miss?