Danny is talking a lot these days. He gives us new words and bits of phrases strung together many times a day now.
He asks for a “jink” when he’s thirsty, admires the “hoosies” at the barn, and begs to play “bayball” every afternoon at the ballfield.
But his favorite word, still by a long shot, is a big, bold “NO.” He likes the power of this simple word so much in fact, that he even says it when he means “yes.” He just uses a softer “no” in place of an affirmative word.
His mother, the sucker, usually plays along.
“Would you like more lunch?” I asked him today.
“No,” he said gently as he handed me his bowl for a refill. And I refilled it.
“Would you like a cookie?” I asked afterwards.
“No,” he said softly. And I gave him one.
When he woke up from his nap today, I heard him spewing paragraphs from his bed. At the end of each complicated “sentence,” came my name followed by a long and forceful “Nooooooo!”
I know he’s playing me for a fool with this bossy businesss, but for now I am a willing fool. I can’t remember all the details of most of my older kids learning to speak and assert themselves, but I am fully present here today. I am seeing a tiny will develop, a personality unfold. I am watching as my son begins, bit by bit, to reveal himself to us and show us what has been hidden all this time without words. He is beginning to show us who he is.
Right here, watching that, is a privileged place.