As she has rounded the 1.5-year-old mark, my daughter is growing daily in her comprehension of language and identity. Watching this process unfold over the course of her life has been one of the most rewarding aspects of parenting. As her limited vocabulary continues to grow, it’s becoming clearer that there are certain facts and realities of which she is acutely aware. I started this out as a list of things she knows about me, but it kept growing until I realized that there’s a whole of stuff she knows about everything. In no particular order, here are a bunch of things she knows for sure at 19 months old:
17 Things She Knows About Her Dad
- He goes to work for long stretches of time.
- He shovels the driveway on occasion.
- She can knock on the window to get his attention when he’s outside.
- He has a car.
- He has a phone and she’s not really supposed to touch it.
- He sometimes talks to her on the phone, especially via video calls.
- He has a wallet.
- He has buttons on his shirt.
- He has a winter coat.
- He wears a belt.
- He has a computer bag and a laptop, and she’s not really supposed to touch it.
- He put a new clock up in the dining room one time.
- He will tickle her if she smiles at him and conspiratorially says the word “Fry!” It’s her first and favorite joke.
- The sound of the garage door means he’s about to come into the house.
- He likes to eat ice cream and he shares it with her.
- He runs on a treadmill in the basement while she plays with her pretend kitchen.
- He is in charge of bringing her three toy puppets to life.
35 Things She Knows About Everything Else
- She knows the word “light” and will ask me to turn on the lamp on the nightstand in our room.
- She recognizes the Chicago Cubs logo and says “Go Cubs.”
- She recognizes the Northwestern Wildcats logo and a Northwestern “N” and says “Go Cats.”
- She calls water something that sounds like “Rla Rla.” We have no idea why.
- She says “amen” and puts her hands together when she wants us to pray and at the end or beginning of a prayer.
- She knows how to put her baby to sleep by rocking it to sleep and singing the lullaby song.
- She knows how to pretend to go to sleep…but she keeps her eyes open.
- She knows how to call someone’s name and tap on them to wake them up when they’re pretending to be asleep.
- She calls my mom—Grammy—”Gii” with a hard “g” sound.
- She calls my dad—Pappy—”Paaa.”
- She can name all of my brothers—Joe is “Doe,” Ben is “Bah” and Chris is “Kreh.” She’s started putting a “Dah” before their names, which I guess means “Uncle.”
- She associates certain songs with her Grammy and will yell “Giiiii!” when you start singing them to her, especially “Patty Cake” or the Lullaby song.
- She frequently takes a census of her family in the room by naming and pointing at each one of us, including pointing to herself and saying “Mah” or “Mah dah” for Maddie.
- She frequently requests to see photos and videos of particular people on our phones, especially her Dad and her Grammy. If it’s not one that satisfies, she’ll say “nooooo,” until we switch to a different one.
- Her Uncle Ben taught her to say “Doh” and smack herself on the forehead.
- If you ask her where something is and she can’t find it, she’ll say “Hmmmmm…” before launching a search party.
- She knows the mail is outside the front door.
- She knows how to help sort the laundry and will take most items of clothing to the correct drawer or closet where they belong—and she knows which clothes belong to Mommy or Daddy. She also knows that her socks are on a low shelf in her room and will gladly get a pair when asked to do so.
- She knows how to help unload the dishwasher and can name some of the items, such as plates, “bows,” “spoo,” “for” and more.
- She sounds a bit dyslexic when she says some names, especially Mickey Mouse, which is known as “N-ma N-ma.” The cat puppet that we frequently play with together has been dubbed “Meow Meow” or “N-mew N-mew.”
- She knows how to bake something in her toy oven after I showed her one time: Put the object in, shut the door, push the fake buttons and say “beep! beep!” and then open the door and pretend to eat whatever “foo” is inside.
- She continues to say “na-na” and make the sign language symbol for “more” when she wants more of something, but she has also started this FOMO sound of “me-no-me-no-me-no” when she wants to be doing something or be a part of something.
- She called the Winter Olympics “snow” and adamantly yells “SNOW!” at the TV whenever they break for a commercial.
- She does the same thing with football games by yelling “Baaah!” at the TV until the coverage returns.
- Recently she has started grabbing the TV remote and yelling “Show!” so that we’ll put on a Sesame Street YouTube video. If she wants to see a Cookie Monster video, she’ll say “Coh” and if she wants to see an Elmo video, she’ll say “Mel-mo.” She also knows that we have an Elmo CD that she listens to in the “cah.”
- She can say “ou-side” and “ih-side,” and frequently asks to go outside.
- She loves taking a bath, which is “baah,” with a short “a” sound that differentiates it from the word she uses for ball.
- She loves playing with her “bee bees” and frequently pretends to make them cry until we tell her to make them feel better—which she does by either stroking their head and saying “niiiiice,” by giving them milk from a toy bottle or by rocking them and singing a lullaby. She will also wrap her bee bees in blankets.
- She loves to “drah” on a giant paper easel we keep on the floor in the living room with some Crayola Twistable faux colored pencils. She particularly likes it when Dad draws with her and will say “Oh, wow!” and point at what he draws.
- She is getting better at putting puzzle pieces into their slots, though she still sometimes lacks the patience. When she gets frustrated with something—like when a round peg won’t fit into a square hole or other tasks requiring more advanced dexterity go south—she starts to moan to herself at an increasing volume until we come over to help her.
- She knows that “change your butt” means changing her diaper and she will yell “Butt!” whenever the occasion presents itself. She will also change her bee bees’ butts by lifting up their legs and dabbing at their crotch with a blanket.
- She has started pointing at her diaper and yelling “Poh!,” which I guess means poop, even though she usually has just peed. Still, it’s impressive that she is already telling us when this happens, so we took some potty training books out of the library. The next great adventure begins?
- She knows that there is a bee bee in her Mom’s belly, but I have no idea what that actually means to her inside her head. She definitely loves touching the baby (to the point of begging to do so), saying hello to the baby and praying for the baby, and it’s pretty dang cute.
- Her vocabulary is growing every day, and she will attempt to imitate almost any sound we make, especially when reading one of the myriad ABCs books that we have. She is also starting to recognize letters themselves, sometimes even when she sees them outside the context of the ABC books.
- She says “I-LA-HOO” in a sweet, high-pitched voice if you say “I love you” to her.
I’m sure this isn’t a complete list, but I’m glad that I at least got some of it down for posterity. I recently realized that we are living in an era of Maddie’s development that I had always looked forward to. It’s hilarious, it’s impressive and it’s passing so quickly that I feel it slipping through my fingers, even as I attempt to savor it and help her continue to learn more. I know that I will blink and she will be a fully communicative child.
It’s so hard to believe that she’s not a baby anymore…but with a second one on the way in less than two months, I guess she knows it’s time to grow up!
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