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Two Babies Walk Into A Bar . . .

While we are not a co-sleeping family, sometimes there’s nothing more delicious than spending the morning dozing together, and I’ll occasionally get up to nurse Maddie at 7 or 8 and bring her back into bed with us for a few more minutes.  Recently one morning the three of us were snuggling lazily in bed, Madeleine in between us cooing contentedly and looking back and forth happily between Daddy and me.  No one had spoken much yet; Brian and I were desultorily discussing the coming day and murmuring endearments to Baby Girl.  Suddenly she broke from her cooing to launch into an excited and enthusiastic monologue, complete with hand gestures and intense eye contact.  She wasn’t looking at either of us, though; she was speaking intently to a spot on the ceiling.  And when she finished, she broke into peals of laughter, chuckling and bouncing for several seconds before looking back at us, for all the world as if to say, “I’m sorry – where were we then?”
Brian looked at me and said, “I’d give anything to know what joke she just told.”

Madeleine’s vocabulary is growing at an astonishing rate, though it’s not a language easily recognizable even at the UN.  She is clearly developing speech patterns, with cadences to her “conversations”, a rising and falling of rhythm and pitch, and clear polysyllabic “words”.   It’s entrancing to me, and a complete mystery: she’s so utterly confident as she speaks, none of that, “Um excuse me, I’m looking for ze –how you say – bathroom?”  There’s no hesitation, no frustration at not getting her point across.  And she obviously believes we’re understanding something of what she says, since many times it’s followed with smiles and satisfaction.  You can get the gist of where she’s going with a conversation, too:  sometimes it’s no-nonsense, emphatic, “let’s get this done, team” sort of talk that leaves you glad you’re not on the receiving end of that scolding, while others it’s a joyful, ecstatic patter full of gurgles and dimples that give you glimpses of future walks home from school full of “and mommy today?  Today Sara asked me to be her best friend! And, um, we got a turtle! And Sammy?  Sammy brought cupcakes?  And I got two gold stars!  Look mommy!”  I can feel her desire to share her happiness, her eagerness to speak and be understood and have an intimacy shared.  When she plants her feet on my thighs and her hands on my shoulders, stares me hard in the eyes and discourses for a while, I’m so happy she’s desiring to share with me I couldn’t care less what the topic is.  She leaves pauses for me to ask appropriate questions or make suitably encouraging remarks, and can usually refrain from interrupting me unless she’s so full of words she bursts out.  And at such moments, I am truly content.
Then there are those times like the other morning, where she’s nothing if not rehearsing her stand-up routine.  Just wish I could figure out the punchline – I still don’t get it.


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