“They understand me! They really understand me!” I exclaimed to myself, channeling Sally Field’s 1985 Academy Award speech.
Since the time the girls were tiny, I’ve been reading to them religiously, in an animated voice, complete with exaggerated facial expressions and hand gestures. I’ve faithfully narrated even the most mundane tasks. “This is a kitchen towel. It has blue checks on it. We fold it first side to side, and then top to bottom. That makes it fit in the drawer!”
For the most part, my audience of two seemed unimpressed. At first they often fell asleep. Then they progressed to staring at me. And then I would sometimes get a smile, and occasionally a chuckle. (“Why does this crazy lady talk about towels all the time?” they were probably joking with each other.) Eventually the girls began crawling around me (or away from me?) as I read. But still, I persevered.
And then, it happened.
One day, a few weeks ago, it seemed like a light bulb came on.
The girls could identify various body parts, and they knew several baby signs…all bits of knowledge I had actively taught them. But when Baby A was walking around with her gown, and I told her, “Put your gown on your head,” she did it! I had never expressly taught the girls “gown” or “head” but she understood!
Every single day holds so much more meaning. It’s so amazing and rewarding to see how much the girls understand and respond to.
And these days I feel a little less goofy…and a little more justified…when I am walking through Target with the girls talking about “all the pretty colors of soda bottles…aren’t they beautiful?”