You knew it was bound to happen. Its certainly something we considered when we began planning for a family. But it always sort of seemed distant, like it would never really happen. But you knew it would. Eventually. And then one day, you realize that the elusive possibility has now very much become your reality. And it hits you like a ton of bricks in the head. At least, that’s how it is for us.
Reagan, our dear little girl, has developed the ability to actually understand the words we speak.
It’s a little unnerving. Actually, it’s a lot unnerving. I wonder just how long she has been able to comprehend the words coming from my mouth. If I had known she “got it”, that may have changed a lot of things I said. Or maybe I would have not said them at all.
It started a few nights ago. Hubby and I were doing dishes after supper and Reagan was attempting to occupy herself and get our attention by doing everything deemed “naughty”. I stated that I was going to go downstairs to take care of some laundry. Hubby remarked that I should take Reagan because she could play down there. Then we had one of these freeze-frame moments. I looked at Reagan, Reagan looked at me, then looked at Hubby, then sprinted over to the stairs. Hubby and I, still frozen in place, looked at each other as if to say “Oh crap! She knows what we are saying!” And there goes Reagan, down the stairs by herself thinking the whole way “Awesome! They said I can go downstairs!”
We laughed if off, nervously. A fluke. She heard us reference “downstairs” and that just reminded her of the playland that is our basement. Total and utter coincidence. She didn’t really know that we were saying she could go “downstairs.” She just heard the word and thought, yes, I want to go there. Nothing more than that.
But then this morning happened. I was in the kitchen getting all of Reagan’s things ready to go and she walked in carrying a few toys. She stopped and looked at me, watching as I packed her bag. I looked at her and said “Should we go to Carol’s house today so you can play with the kids?” She froze, looked at me and blinked for a few seconds. Then threw her toys down on the kitchen floor and ran as fast as her legs would carry her to her coat and hat. She sat down on the floor next to them and looked at me as if to say “Okay, cool! Let’s go!”
It isn’t as though I’ve been walking around saying “bad” things. When you take home a brand new baby, they say you should talk to your baby. Talk about anything and everything. They won’t care what you’re saying. They just want to hear your voice. So I’ve been operating on this say-anything-and-everything-that-pops-into-your-head mentality for more than a year. What they forgot to mention was that someday, this was going to blow up in my face. They did not tell me that I should stop my stream-of-consciousness speeches by age 12 months because that’s when the “baby” begins to comprehend what you are saying. I haven’t been saying “bad” things; honestly the fear that Reagan’s first word would be a swear word has cured me of swearing in her presence. But I haven’t really been filtering what I’ve been saying either. I’m severely out of practice in the filtering department.
I suppose it’s a good practice - this one of thinking before you speak. And now its time to brush up on my spelling because I really have to be able to communicate without a certain little girl deciphering my every word.