At eighteen months old, Gabrielle has reached that super-cute age where children begin to say more intelligible words and we grownups gain a privileged look into some of the details of their tiny worlds. If I remember correctly, it was at this unforgettable age that little Ambrose took a bite of an eraser, spat it out, and told me it was “Yucky cheese.”
As a result of Gabrielle’s new verbal skills, I am learning many new things. For example, horses, ladybugs, and chickens are all “doggies” and the pharmacist, the UPS man, and Mister Rogers are all “Papa.” When I bring her a toy she praises me “Good girl!” and if she finds the tiniest trace of dirt on anything from her hands to her shoes to her pacifier, she doesn’t hesitate to let loose with an enthusiastic “Bleeechhhh! Dirty!”
With Gabrielle’s help, I am also learning that things aren’t always as they seem. One of our more enlightening conversations took place yesterday morning when I gave her a corn muffin for breakfast. A few minutes later I noticed it was gone and I cooed at her, “Oh Gabby, you ate up all your muffin–you are such a good girl!”
She responded with a “Yup,” and then grinning, added, “Doggie good girl!” It was only then that I noticed the dog sitting at her feet, contentedly licking the last of the muffin crumbs from his doggie lips. Like most of us, Gabrielle still needs to learn that sometimes the best thing to say is nothing at all.