This post is going to be almost entirely about my niece and how cute she is. If you don’t like kids who say ridiculous and silly things, then…well, I’m not entirely sure we can be friends in the first place, but you also might want to skip this one.
A couple of weeks ago, I went to visit my brother and his family in Pennsylvania. They live in Amish country and it was beautiful out there. The fall colors were just starting to show, but the temperatures were perfectly warm. It was such a good visit and so fun to see them all. My brother and his wife have a two-and-a-half-year-old daughter and a three-month-old son. I hadn’t seen my niece in over a year and had never met my nephew. My nephew was fabulous, sweet, cuddly, smooshy, and totally cute. But I spent most of my time interacting with my niece so my sister-in-law could do what she needed to with the baby.
It’s absolutely amazing the difference a year has made with my niece. Her vocabulary has totally exploded. She can express herself pretty fully now, and there’s no word she won’t say. She will attempt any word you ask her to say, sometimes to hilarious results. She also regularly uses words that seem beyond her age bracket. She won’t hesitate to tell you something is “dergutsting”. She also says “certainly” all the time. Like “I can certainly put my shoes on.” Or “I would certainly like a snack.” It’s so grown up and funny in her little voice. As are questions that start “And ‘member…” or “How ‘bout…”. Her memory and imagination are insane.
Every so often, she has to take a minute to form her thoughts, but instead of using “um”, it’s a sound more like “ay-yah”. Or like the Spanish word “ella”. It’s hard to describe how she uses it, because she uses it so fluidly in her sentences that you almost don’t notice it until it’s over. But she uses it in the middle of a sentence in the same way most kids would say “um, um, um”. It’s just “ay-yah, ay-yah, ay-yah” instead. (I guess that wasn’t so hard to describe after all.)
She refers to morning or daytime as “early time”. Certainly not to be confused with nighttime, which is “dark time”. One day, my brother noticed she was acting tired in the afternoon, so he asked if she wanted to come snuggle with him in the big chair. Knowing what he was getting at, her response was, “No, Daddy, it’s early time.” When he said that sometimes it’s okay to nap when it’s early time and it can make us feel better, she replied, “No, Daddy. Doctors make us feel better. It’s early time.” And that was the end of any discussion about napping.
A while ago, my mom sent them an attachment for the shower that is an alternate shower head at kid height. The spout of the shower head is shaped like a little fish. She didn’t like it at first, so they put it away for a little while, but brought it back out recently. Now she thinks it’s great. The first night they retried it, she asked if the fish (or, fissy) had a name. My brother, off the cuff, and very much like my own father might, told her it was Beauregard. Now if you ask her if she wants a bath or a shower, she will emphatically tell you she wants “a fissy shower wiss Bo-we-gahd”. It. Is. The. Cutest.
(As an aside, while she was in the shower one night, the empty dishwashing liquid bottle she was playing with wouldn’t squirt because the top was pushed down closed. She handed it to my brother and said, “Daddy, it needs new batteries.” When he popped open the top and handed it back to her, she exclaimed, “Dad, you’re such a good fixer!”)
The first day I was there, we went out to find my brother some new suits for work. It was a long morning, and she handled it exceptionally well. So, when we went to get lunch, my brother decided to get her some ice cream as a treat. She shunned the ice cream (which she usually loves) and wanted the bacon off of my plate instead. My brother couldn’t figure out whether to be horrified she didn’t want ice cream, or proud that she loves bacon. It’s really a toss-up.
One evening, we were watching a show together and something surprising happened on-screen. She jumped up and said “What ze HECK?” When we busted up laughing, she looked at us sassily and said, “Yeah, I said that.” Oh, little girl. You are too much.
I think the best part of getting to interact with her now is finally being able to know what’s going on in her head. We’ve long known that she had strong OPINIONS! About THINGS! But it’s a totally different experience to hear her so articulately express those opinions and feelings. She’s able to tell you exactly what she wants or doesn’t want (although sometimes has to be reminded that she has that ability.) She can tell you if there’s a problem or if she’s excited about something. She can tell you (in great detail) about something that happened days, weeks, or months ago. It’s so fun to see the things that are important in her little world.
The last night I was there, she was playing in the living room before bed. She got a hold of a couple of fabric storage bins my sister-in-law uses to store diapers and the like. They happened to be empty, so she built a tower out of the bins, a blanket, and a stuffed puppy dog. She worked meticulously for about ten minutes, getting everything just so. Then she threw her hands in the air and proclaimed, “Ta-da! It is ze best sing in ze WHOLE WORLD!” Actually, little girl, I think you are ze best sing in ze whole world.