Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Where's The Fire?

My latest anxiety is prompted by people asking me how old Jarrah is. I say "She's 20 months." and they invariably respond "Oh, so almost two."

Readers, she is NOT almost two. When she is almost two, I will say "She's almost two." At least I think I will. Because, you see, two is still a third of a year away. Even I do not rush my next birthday with this phrase, and I have been on the planet a heck of a lot longer. It just doesn't seem right to me to rush the birthday of a person who heretofore has had only ONE other. Someone who, to the best of my knowledge, didn't have anyone around to document that one. And someone whose Mom and Dad celebrated her last birthday with friends and a birthday tiara, but no actual, photographable cutie with frosting on her face.

I have known her for less than eight months. That is only twice again the amount of time that is supposedly "almost" something else. Does that make sense? I can only imagine that in four months she will be, as she is every WEEK, a completely new and exciting pint-sized force of nature.

And she does seem so different all of the sudden. I have adapted to her being slim (relatively) and tall, and to requiring a little-tolerated barrette to keep the bangs out of her eyes. I have adapted to her running my behind off (oh, would that it were!) every single day.

But I still marvel that almost every day she suddenly does something brand spanking new, like catch a ball, walk downstairs without a handrail, build a block tower seven blocks high. This weekend, she identified "head," "toes," "belly," "knees," "shoulders," "eyes," "ears", "nose" and "mouth" when Aaryn asked her to find these things. Readers, I'm embarrassed to admit that it never occurred to me that she might know where these items were located! I have been transported to giddiness when she points and says "Ball." or "Bubbles." or "Car." or "Apple." plain and clear, as if she's always known how to say it but didn't want to let on. I get internal flip-flops of cute overload when she spots the San Diego trolley and raises her hand to pull the bell, calling "Doot-doot!"

She is suddenly interested in what things are called. I'm no child development expert, but it's as if she has suddenly worked out that things have names, and now she must know them all. She will happily spend 10 minutes pointing at objects in her crib after her nap, and then do it faster and faster, as if trying to confuse me. "Blanket. Pillow. Cookie Monster. Pillow. Cookie Monster. Blanket-Cookie-Pillow-Cookie-Blanket-Pillow-Cookie." She doesn't repeat these words after I say them, but I can tell she's taking it all in.

And...can it be? Is it my imagination? Or does she seem happier recently? As if she is relieved to discover that things have names? Perhaps it is a relief because this phenomenon applies to her, too. She often points to herself, and me, and David. "Jarrah. Mommy. Daddy," we say, over and over. We have names. She has a name. And she is tickled pink to know just who she is.


Cheri said...

She's brilliant. No question. And 20 months old. No question.

Love this post!

nanna and grandad said...

Our hearts sing. Love the post and learning that our darling grand-daughter is just so clever!

Anonymous said...

Already a little smarty-pants like her parents! Just wait until she knows "ineffable" and "panopticon"! :) lix

Alleen said...

She sounds like such a perfect angel!! Definitely don't rush the birthday people!!!

Anonymous said...

People most always want to be identified as a little bit older until about thirty, then they want to be a little bit younger, and at about eighty or so they want to be a litte bit older again! :) Go figure.

Jarrah sounds as if she's really learning her new world, and has decided you all belong together in it.

Best, Gail

Cheryl Rourke said...

What a wonderful post. We send our love to all of the family.