Well, that's ok

I haven’t documented Trixie’s language skills in so long that it’s pointless to even try to compare what she can do now to the primitive babbling of one year ago.

Her language evolution is relentless, yet so absolutely incremental that I have no idea how we arrived at the current point in time. One year ago it was simple object identification. Today it’s an assemblage of thoughts, feelings, observations, consideration of consequences and mimicry.

As a parent, it makes me proud. As a human, it completely blows my mind. Being able to witness firsthand how our species develops is probably the most amazing thing I will ever do with my life. The fact that I’m about the 100 billionth person to do it doesn’t diminish it for me at all. In fact, it just reaffirms how the experience is so universal.

The event that made the biggest impression was the first time she imparted knowledge to me. I do not remember what the knowledge was, or when it took place. It’s a shame. I was busy at the time – not writing – and you don’t always know what’s going to make an impression on you. But it was sometime around 6-9 months ago.

Prior to that point, you could communicate with Trixie, but the majority of the conversation was reaffirming things: “Are you hungry?”, “Do you want some juice?”, “You want Mommy to take you potty, right?”

In other words, it wasn’t anything I didn’t already know. At one point though, a question was asked out loud, maybe not even directly to Trixie, and she provided an answer that shared her knowledge.

It might have been something as simple as, “Where in the world is the TV controller?” But the answer to that inconsequential question was the first time Trixie ever educated me, with words and knowledge. It’s a striking realization, because you quickly understand how each generation eventually takes the reigns from the previous. Not in a depressing way, but more of a cycle of life that makes you appreciate being a part of something.

Anyway, that’s a little too heavy to think about when taking care of toddler. For the most part talking with Trixie is pure joy because you can actually communicate in interesting and unpredictable ways. Plus tantrums aside, she doesn’t let you get too stressed out about things. Her favorite thing to say when things go wrong is, “Wellll… that’s ok”.

“Trixie, there’s juice all over the floor!!”
“Trixie, you were supposed to be asleep TWO hours ago!!”
“Ah crap, we’re out of beer.”

The next important milestone will be when she can take care of that last problem. Then I’ll be really impressed.

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14 Responses to Well, that's ok

  1. Erika says:

    It is so nice to see new posts again. Jackson’s favorite thing to say when we ask him a question now is “ummm… lemme see.”
    “Jackson are you going to finish your banana?”
    “Ummm…lemme see.”

  2. Judy says:

    Language acquisition is such a remarkable skill that we tend to take for granted. Much of my post-grad studies were in second-language acquisition, and in infants to toddlers the results are AMAZING.

    I hope she continues to blow your mind daily with her new “stuff”!

  3. Tom N. says:

    Our daughter (D) is about 7 months younger than Trixie, and I agree that the language development (esp. over the last few months for us) has been astounding. I hadn’t thought of her chatting as “imparting knowledge,” but that’s a really neat way of looking at it.

    The cutest recent example of providing information is when the teacher in her new daycare room didn’t see D when they were getting ready to go outside, and asked “Where’s D?” From underneath the table she heard the answer: “Hidin’!” 🙂

  4. Marie says:

    My 2 year old’s favorite is “don’t worry.” Usually follows a mess of some sort that she, a pet, or my husband created, and the next part of the sentence is, “Mommy will clean that up.”


  5. Elizabeth says:

    Hey, Marie, it could be worse. D (from Tom’s comment above) has said, “Mommy, clean that mess up!”

  6. Rob says:

    18 more years, man… 18 more years…

  7. Kristen says:

    My mom said that when I was little the expression I used when things went wrong was “Life is life.” I try and remember it now and again, now that I’m adult. I have a son who is 19 months old and we’re amazed at the language he’s picking up. Ben – your post has only made me more anxious to continue this journey. Thanks.

  8. Valerie says:

    Ben, you never cease to amaze me. You’re able to articulate what most of us are thinking but don’t have the time or ability to do so. My son’s only 14 months so any question with the response “hi daddy” means he’s in a good mood. It’ll be interesting when Trixie starts to worry about what others will think of her, if she gets shy, etc. When I was 4, I would introduce myself to anyone, anywhere: “Hi, I’m Valerie Jenna XXXXX and I’m FOUR YEARS OLD!” Around 6 I started getting shy. The evolution of life is astounding.

  9. Summer says:

    That’s so cute! Ours repeats lots of things she reads and makes them part of her vocabulary, like “Oh yes, wonderful!” and this one makes me laugh-“I’m very very very very very (about 6 or more very’s) okay” (or tired, hungry, etc…)

  10. Nanay says:

    My daughter’s vocabulary is slowly expanding. Her first words were “Uh-oh!” second word being “mo-ah” (more) like Mr. Bumble in “Oliver Twist.” Just this weekend I just came to realize that she’s trying to pronounce “Oppa” (Copper) Our dog’s name. I’m with you Ben, it’s a wow moment. We also are teaching some sign-language. That was another wow moment when she started signing back.

  11. JordansMom says:

    It really is amazing how fast they grow up. Jordan’s favorite phrase is “I sa-wee”…about everything.
    Me: “Jordan, don’t play in the TOILET”
    Jordan: (turns to look at me) “I Sa-wee”
    (returns to playing in toilet)

    (before mama pulls him out of the bathroom, of course. )

  12. chucknado says:

    To learn more about just how amazing the development of language in children is, pick up a copy of “The Language Instinct” by Steven Pinker. Well written and truly eye-opening.

  13. Tim says:

    I hear you. I remember the moment when Oscar answered a question and I realized it was the first time he had information to provide that I didn’t have. Oddly I don’t remember what it was, but I’m not entirely sure it wasn’t also about the TV remote. Regardless, it’s a strange and awesome moment to discover your child is already gaining independence.

  14. YH says:

    This comment is a little off the language track, but not entirely. Ben, have you and Jenn noticed that as Trixie’s command of language has taken off her tantrums have scaled back (I ask, with great hope, as the mother of a 22-month old)? Or would this require a tantrum telemetry project?

    My husband and I really enjoy this site, and am glad to see that stories are appearing again.