My Little Communicator

by Kristi Van Dyk in

Kayleigh makes me laugh about a thousand times each day. The way she is learning so quickly to communicate, to share her thoughts, to learn new words is incredible. I'm convinced by the time she's two she'll be easily rattling off full sentences; right now she's combining phrases and learning approximately 5 new words per day. It's hard to remember them all to even cherish on the blog! I feel like I'd have to blog several times each day just to catalogue all that she's describing. It's been several days since I updated on any of that, so perhaps I should catch up.

1. She's increasingly good at following directions ... to the point where I have to watch myself when I'm narrating our day. She has no concept of later, or in a minute, only NOW at this moment. It's excellent for things like: pick up the trash, Kayleigh, or it's time to get in the car, Kayleigh. BUT it's difficult when I say, No, we'll go for a ride later. All she hears is go for a ride. And then is completely distraught when I don't follow the procedures for doing just that. After all, in her mind she heard ... GO FOR A RIDE ...

2. I believe she is a neat freak .. which will be difficult since neither Steve nor I really care much for keeping things clean. Shameful, I know... both of our mothers would be distraught but ... it's the truth. I think it skipped a generation. I had to watch my patience the other day because I was ready to get going somewhere. We were running a little late and Kayleigh was in clean up mode. We COULD NOT think about going for a ride because we had to pick up all of the "tash" (most of which were empty water bottles, Mt. Dew cans and things strewn about that we don't always pick up right away). After the trash, she insisted on turning OFF OFF both of the fans (can't have them running when we aren't in the room). AND we had to clean up all of the papis (pacifiers) from underneath her crib. She WOULD NOT be derailed (well, I could have carried away a screaming, tantrum baby, but I decided there was a lesson for me in this too ...). So, we picked up the trash (she insisted on doing it all herself), turned off the fans (she needed a little boost) and picked up the pacis (after I moved the crib so she could do so). Then, we could leave ... curiously, she doesn't have the same problem with her toys; they can be strewn about ... just not trash, or fans, or pacifiers.

3.  Label everything ... we are at the stage where everything has a name, and my daughter must know it. If she knows it she will shout it and label it for you, no matter where we are. She can see a ball off in the distance and shriek BALL BALL BALL before any adult has come even remotely close to finding one. If she DOESN'T know the names she resorts to her favorite word of all MAMA >>> MAMAMA... MAMAM.. with increasing volume until I say, "yes, Kayleigh?" THIS? THIS? THIS? and she tries to discover the name for whatever new object she can find. She's lightning fast at repeating ... and doesn't take long to re-recognize it in a different context. It's always fun to hear and see her translate her knowledge to a new environment. She's big on "uh-ohs" usually when she drops stuff. BUT she doesn't hesitate to use it when Mommy does, Daddy does, or random stranger at the store does. We were searching for grad cards at Meijers and some unfortunate employee dropped a vase of flowers. We couldn't see it, we just heard the crash. As the manager walked down the same aisle, my baby girl did a HUGE surprise face (mouth wide open in the "OH" expression) and said, UH-OH ... MOMMMA .. UH-OH ... UH-OH. The manager laughed and laughed because she was so worried about whatever had just crashed down.

4. **warning: slightly gross: ** Kayleigh knows all the parts of her face as well as many other items' names that she uses for comfort. We were driving home from the zoo on Thursday and she sneezed. Now, my child can handle sneezes and coughs (she usually laughs) BUT if the sneeze produces any amount of snot on her face she freaks out. Sometimes it's so bad that I have to pull over, put on the hazards and clean up her face or she won't stop screaming. I wasn't able to pull over at this particular juncture, so I said, "Kayleigh, I know you have a "blaghc" on your nose. Can you wipe your nose with your blanket?" (Now, I know ... gross to wipe it on the comfort tool, but .. pulling over on the S curve was not an option). She looked at me, wanted to cry for the gross-ness of it and ... wiped her nose with the blanket. Just for good measure, when she was all "cleaned" up she said in her sweetest voice ever, "Momma, blaghc" It was like she was telling me, "Mom, that was gross."

5. Logic and reasoning ... I think this is the part of communicating with Kayleigh that makes me the most excited .. when she understands me. She was having a wretched night the other night ... up for 3.5 hours straight just moaning and whining (I think she got the cold from the Ipema's ... totally fair since they received at least one this year from her too!). When she was sufficiently drugged and had had plenty of chances at comfort we decided it was time for the firm parent approach. Mom got that job. So, I walked in (at approximately 5:45 a.m., after having been up almost all night). I squatted next to the crib and looked her in the eyes (a similar tactic I used on my middle schoolers). I said, "Kayleigh, what is wrong, honey?" She responded, "Momma ... blagch" and pointed to her messy nose. I gently cleaned it off with her rag and then said, "Okay, all clean. Now it's time to sleep. Can you lay down?" She vigorously shakes her head now, whimpers and says, "Out, Momma, out!" I said, "No, Kayleigh" and she whimpered and whined and cried and tried twice more to say that she wanted out. Each time I just said, "No, Kayleigh" until the third time when I figured it was time she knew I meant business. I said, "Kayleigh, Mommy needs you to lay down. If you don't she has to spank you, and Mommy doesn't like that." Kayleigh took one more pathetic little shuddery whimper, hugged me tight around the neck, put her paci in her mouth and didn't make a peep until at least 9:45 a.m. ... We just had to establish that her desire wasn't happening and that sleep was. Once she learned it, she gladly complied. Sigh ... I love being able to talk to her ... it's so much easier than battling the scream out until she drops to sleep.

Well, I suppose that's enough for now on my sweet baby doll. I've been seated long enough. The tingling in my feet and fingers from our exceedingly long walk has finally  subsided. I'm starting to feel slightly more comfortable, and I THINK angelface is ready to be done napping :) ...