21 February 2008


Some kids are just more vocal than others. That's an entirely different animal than the variation in their abilities to communicate. Some toddlers will run their mouth ad nauseum, but little of it is comprehensible. Others are largely quiet, but when they do speak it's clear and very easy to understand. What we have here, pictured at left, is the uncommon combination of the two. Lily has been a great communicator ever since she learned to talk. She put two and three words together into sentences early, and she never really engaged in any "baby talk". She also never shuts up. The net result of this, for me at least, is that she's very hard to just ignore. Usually, if she's speaking, it's something of substance that requires either an action or an answer. So you can't just let her babble, because she's not babbling, she's engaging you in a conversation, and it would not send her the right message if you refused to acknowledge her. So I find myself often, as do others in her presence, having tireless conversations that seemingly will never end.

I used to think, when I was bartending for a living, that I was the king of what I called the "walkaway handshake". If some drunk was sauced on Cutty Sark and had me cornered in what would seem to be an endless discussion about how much better the Reagan years were, I would always come up with the perfect strategy for getting myself out of that predicament. That skill, apparently, has passed me by. I probably bring it on myself with Lily, often encouraging the silly banter, and even initiating it sometimes. That's what my predilection for sarcasm and movie-quoting get me, I suppose, it gets thrown right back at me with her.

On a similar note, yesterday was a very quotable day for Lily. Her friend Matt came over to play in the morning, so we skipped the gym and just hung out around the house. She really likes Matt, he's one of the only kids her age that she gets to play with outside of the gym on a regular basis. She gets super excited when I tell him he's coming over, and she'll go around prepping her toys and telling me all about what they plan to play. It was about half an hour before he was scheduled to be picked up yesterday and I decided to take them for a walk around the neighborhood in the wagon. Frankly, they were out of rooms to destroy and they'd begun to grow bored. So we loaded up and headed out. As we wandered the side streets, their conversation started to dwindle as Matt became more interested in the airplanes in the sky than what Lily had to say. Well Lily would have no part of that, so she spent the last two blocks of our walk singing the following song, which she made up on the fly. For the full effect, you have to sing it out loud in precisely the same way she did: "You are my friend!", with not only the volume but also the pitch rising as you get to the end. The same verse was repeated approximately sixty-four times, at which point I let the kids out of the wagon and Matt out of his misery.

Moments later, in the back yard, they had again finished playing together and were now running around independently of one another, both happily doing their own thing but Lily again looking for some conversation. Having tried and failed to re-engage him, she resorted to another newly concocted song . ."I love you!", again rising in pitch and volume at the end, but this time the first two words were at the same level. There must be some formula based on the number of words in the verse that determines the rhyming and tone scheme. I think he was relieved when his mom showed up to get him.

More to come . . gotta motivate now before she loses her mind from being in the same place for too long.


Carolyn said...

WOW she is looking more and more like Avery evey day I think. And Aunt C loves her songs and really misses them.

Anonymous said...

Matt told me yesterday that Lily loves him!! Hahaha. How cute!!

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why you are still amazed by the girl genes!!! Next time yoou don't feel like chatting, just call me. I adore our conversations!