Wednesday, March 26, 2014

From Blink to Blink

"They grow up so fast."

Before you're a parent, it's just common rhetoric. When you first become a parent, the bleary-eyed days and the endless nights seem to contradict the words everyone says to you. Then, suddenly, you're the parent of a toddler, a kindergartner, or a teenager, and you realize those people were on to something. Because suddenly, you realize you are raising a person. Not just a baby. A full-blown, pint-sized, personality-saturated person. For me, it has been both the most terrifying and awe-inspiring moment of my parental career.

They start so small, so helpless, so dependent. Everything in their lives is passive. They wait for you to hold them. Change them. Feed them. Rock them. Soothe them. Entertain them. (Of course, they wail to let you know when you're failing and smile/coo to let you know there's still hope for you to succeed yet.) But, they don't show you what hurts, express complicated emotions, engage in two-way play, and they absolutely don't tell you what they're thinking. Until the day they do.

I had heard talking was an overnight process. (Yeah right, this is coming from the same morons who told me blinking would make them grow.) turns out (once again) they sure know what they're talking about. Sure, Hayley had a few words here and there (go figure most of her first words were food-centric), and she's been assigning and demonstrating animal sounds for months. But one day it just...clicked. And ever since then, she is adding words daily to her vocabulary.

You might say her vocabulary is really "taking off".     :)
 As an exercise in curiosity, I thought I'd compile a list of her words. It took me longer than I thought (mainly because it's hard to sit down and compartmentalize everything you hear in a day). So over the course of a week, I made the two lists below. And, I have to add to it every single day.

To be fair, I did include a column for animal sounds. But, still. Where did this come from?? I can't really pick a favorite, but her phrases and recognition astonish me. Also, she is willing to try most any word, so one of our favorite bath/car games is "Can you say...?". I might get slightly more enjoyment out of it...

Making these lists also made me realize how much she will change between now and 2 (only six short months away, if that is even possible). She certainly has her tough moments, as does every toddler, but she is also amazing, if only in my eyes. I can't wait to see more pieces of her personality come through. We know she is VERY active, quite the entertainer, loves making jokes, adores the center of attention, hungers for outdoor adventure, devours everything in sight (speaking of hunger), and is smitten with books. I can see so much of both of us in her, but I can also spot the ways she is becoming her own person.

What a thrilling blessing it is to be a parent and witness it all firsthand. It's the little things, every little day, that truly make you want to stop blinking, even for just a moment, to take it all in.

Little Things Link-Up via here and here