At Last She Speaks

*First published October 11, 2007 at 

My daughter will be two years old soon. Where has the time gone? She is sitting in a "big girl" chair at the table, can navigate up and down the stairs without falling, scoots around on a tricycle, attempts to climb out of her crib, and can handle anything her big brother throws at her - literally.

She is also learning a ton of new words and singing along with the alphabet song and "Rainbow Connection," which is a nightly request in her rocking chair before she goes to sleep. "Daddy!" she screams from the top of the stairs after her bath. "Rainbow!" As I have mentioned before, I am a sucker when it comes to my kids, especially when they are being cute. When she sees me coming at the bottom of the stairs she runs and jumps in her rocking chair eagerly awaiting another daddy rendition of a song made popular by a Muppet. I may not sing like Kermit the Frog, Willie Nelson, or Justin Timberlake when he performed with Kermit on Saturday Night Live, but my daughter thinks I sing it the best. She follows along and sings the words she knows and claps at the end. I couldn't ask for a better audience.

Not all the words she knows are that fun to hear, though. At the moment her favorite words are, "No!" and "I don't want to!" when we tell her to go to time-out for hitting her brother. I'm kind of torn on whether or not to teach her a better way of communicating her feelings about things because in fifteen years those words will come in handy when she goes out on a date - so will the hitting.

We are also trying to get the word "please" into her vocabulary. For some reason she won't say it and instead just belts out things like, "I WANT APPLE JUICE!" to which we reply, "How do you ask nicely?"

"I want apple juice," she says with a softer tone.

"Can you say please?" we ask her.

"No! I don't want to!" replies Little Miss Bossypants.

The word "please" rhymes with "cheese" and every single time I pick up a camera the first word out of her mouth is, "CHEESE!" How can a child not make that connection and replace the "ch" with a "pl" and say "please" for cying out loud? I guess it's because she doesn't want to since that is what she is telling us. You think we would get that by now and it obviously frusrates her that we do not. I would even settle for, "PEAS!" and be happy.

My son has been a great little helper in teaching his sister manners. This is funny since sometimes he forgets his own. One minute he will be setting a good example for her by asking politely for a snack or to watch a video, then in the very next sentence after I tell him, "No more snacks because we are eating dinner soon," he will scream out, "I don't like you! You're a mean daddy!" I know he doesn't really mean it, though. He just wants another bowl full of Goldfish crackers or Teddy Grahams so he can skip whatever might be healthier in his dinner by saying, "I'm full."

So each day my daughter is learning new words. It is an amazing thing to watch and she is quickly changing from a little baby that screams when she needs something, to knowing what it is and telling us. Now if I can just get her to ask for things instead of demanding them we'll be on our way to a well-behaved household.