Mia: "Mommy, this is a new way to say 'no thank you.' 'May I please no for that snack.' "
When I acted out the "hi hi hi" lyrics in The Hop Hop Hibbity Song in the car, she says, "I thought you were waving to the world."
"Mia, what did you call that place we went to eat with Tonya?" "The Yucky Pwatter. And it's a restaurant."
"Mia, what's a good thing that happened to you today?" "Miss Katie taught me to yearn." "What did she teach you to yearn?" "Everything."
"Mommy, I'm a princess and a scuba diver and I want to show you my princess clothes under my scuba diver clothes because I need to save the animals that are in a deep deep cave under the water."
Mia says, "Oh Daddy I'm going to tell you about something at school today. Something SCABBY! There was a fire part. And a loud sound from the ding-dong bell. And this girl cried. And we went outside."
"Did you hold hands?"
"Midver," says Mia, making up words. "Gwimper. Be-ah."
"Why is there no gravity in space?"
During a reluctant and anxious trip to the bathroom that interrupted her play: "My fart says don't move my game!"
I'm getting more open with my tantrums. I'm using my words, too. When I scream, "Don't!" I add, "Be nice to Mommy!" Is it me against them?
"Ah choo!" Eleanor says. "Howdy how." "Ma-man," with a French accent. "D'accord!" "I say! Boom. Taste. Seek!" This is all play. But to communicate, she uses insistent monkey grunts and whines, with vague hand gestures.
I tell Mia to look at her candy watch (the new technological advancement in candy necklaces) and tell me what time it is. She says, "It's a pair half a feckle."
When we decide to drive the hybrid to the farm for pumpkins instead of walking to the farmer's market, Mia says, "I'm glad we didn't walk. That was a tired idea."
"I want Gwitter and Be Gay!" chimes Mia from the back seat. The Dick Cavett theme song is her new favorite. Strapped down in her carseat, she dances with her arms and her head and sings "Ha ha ha ha-ha ha!" But Mia is no Parisian courtesan who poorly feigns shame of her flawless jewels. When she asks why the singing lady was laughing, I offered, "she is pretending that she is sad because she is lost, but she is really happy. That she's lost." "Oh," says Mia. When Mia sings it, she is glittering and gay and purely happy in the gymnastics of the tune. Not lost one bit.
Was that "Why'd he hurt the baby?" or "Riding Hood the Baby?"
Eleanor is saying about one new word every day. Today was "Chair" and "Chase." Yesterday it was "oops." This is as thrilling to us as if we were scientists making contact with a new life form. Well, that's what it is, isn't it?
The Orangutan and the Chimp
Mia chatters away as she plays, her voice high, then low, acting out little plays with her toy animals. Babbling to herself, immersed in play, she bounces around the room in a diaper, an alligator puppet on one hand. "Oh wow! A baby! What's your name? Mia? No, it's Nora." She switches to another voice, monster deep, "I'm going to chew on you!" Jocelyn and I eavesdrop and crack up.
Meanwhile, Nora studies a plastic toy .. a row of trapdoors that open to reveal tiny animal busts, a hall of presidents of the animal kingdom. She clucks quietly to herself, in a hen-like squat, slowly pressing, trying, thinking, processing.