Thursday, February 7, 2013

learning from Abby

Abby is learning to speak. Her words don’t always sound like we think they should. For example, she refers to the park as “swing slide,” as in, “Abby, what did you do today?” and she says, “swing slide.” Only it comes out as “singside.” Sometimes we don’t always understand her. She repeats her words over and over until someone understands. Sometimes she points or shows us, but mostly she repeats words. Right now, her response when we finally guess right is a long “yeah” accompanied by a bright smile. She is finally recognized. There are other times when she says things over and over just for the joy of it. She’s not trying to get anyone to understand her. If anything, I think she wants people to join in. I wonder if she just enjoys the sound of her own voice.

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Abby is pretty cute, so when we have visitors at the house, they want to play with her. But with unfamiliar people, Abby is shy and cautious. I joke with these visitors that the two easiest ways to earn her affection are to pull out food or an iphone. She will be in your lap in two seconds flat. And on seeing an iphone, she will ask for pictures, meaning, of her (show or take, your choice). Sometimes this is cute, and sometimes Abby gets chided for it. She is almost two, so her parents are teaching her boundaries, and I understand how important that lesson is. But it’s also just the tiniest bit heartbreaking, because I wonder if telling her no or redirecting her to ask instead of assume will dampen her instinct to get what she wants. I admire her focus.

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Sometimes I get jealous of Abby, which I know is pretty ridiculous. But let’s be real: the girl stays home every single day, spends most of her time playing outside and reading, and most of her trauma is over being forced to eat her egg at breakfast. She also gets a lot of love. Her mother recognizes that most of Abby’s acting out is resolved with the reminder that she is loved and safe, and so she shows Abby this with pats on her back, answers to her cries and questions, and lots of cuddling. Adults don’t get too much of this kind of treatment, though I think a lot of us (and I really mean me) could benefit from it. I’m afraid to admit this, wondering if I’m psychically stuck at age 2 and Abby will soon surpass me in maturity. But I’m already taking cues from her, so I guess not much would change.

1 comment:

  1. Love this...can totally relate to the jealousy piece. I'm stuck on the part about teaching Abby boundaries. I struggle with that so much, especially with Natalie. I feel like I'm constantly telling her no...I fear too what message this is sending. I love all that you're learning from Abby's presence in your life!

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