I feel so lucky right now to have a two year old in my house and to be able to watch again the strange process of a child becoming fluent at speach. We can watch her mind at work. The other day I was looking at a picture on the computer and she came and named one of her brothers, asking if it was him. I said no, so she named the other brother. I said no again, and she said, “boy.” She did not know him so she had moved from the specific to the general.
She pretends to read books, sometimes repeating bits of the book she remembers and sometimes making up stories based on the pictures. It thrills me when I hear her attempting to quote but use the wrong word – for example “huge” instead of “gigantic” – because I take it as a sign that she actually understands the meaning of the words. I smile when she focuses on some side aspect of the book, like a dog running through the background, instead of the plot.
She doesn’t tell full stories and yet she hints at them. I find it funny how I’ll listen to her say something, and later I’ll be telling her dad about it but I’ll struggle to remember the words she used. I’ll want to convey her meaning in my own words, to fill in the blanks in her grammar. “Dinosaurs eat pizza. No eat me,” she said the other day, explaining why she wasn’t scared of the robotic dinosaurs at a local science centre, but I heard it as “Dinosaurs eat pizza. They don’t eat me.”
She has twice the amount of clothing she needs, some of it hand-me-downs from her brothers and some of it girls clothing that was given to her. She prefers the bright pink clothing but I’m not convinced its some sort of biological preference. When she wears pink people treat her differently. I treat her differently. I’m more likely to call her “my little princess” or other pet names. We socialize her into it despite plans to do the opposite.
She’s the politest of our children, always saying “thank you.” I don’t know how she picked it up when our other two did not.