When I could convince her to open up her little clenched hands, they were full of tiny pebbles, the heads of dandelions (she plucks the stems off- unnecessary, clearly), acorns, and particularly interesting (apparently) pieces of dirt.
My little scientist. Be still my heart.
You know, for the nearly seven years we've lived here, I've never really liked my back yard. I mean, I like aspects of it: the flower beds, the fruit trees, the woods. But it's always irritated me that there's no grass (just weeds, which can be mowed neatly to look like grass in the summertime, haha), no fence, there are WAY too many fire ants, and it's just kind of blah (in the places where there aren't flower beds or gardens, that is).
But to Millie, it's like this bountiful land of partially-buried treasures, a place where she can dig and explore and exclaim joyfully over the weeds-that-look-like-flowers. And I love it. There's still no grass and no fence. The weeds are abundant and the chipmunks and armadillos leave holes everywhere, but when I watch my girl run and laugh and kneel and examine and swing...the whole place is redeemed. It's my acre of paradise, too.
The other night I decided to assess Millie's understanding of her own (multitude of) nicknames. I designed a really scientific system (ooh, like mother, like daughter? Scientists, the both of us!) to determine which names she recognized. I had control groups and everything- my professors would have been so proud. So basically I just say "where's Mommy?"-- and she points to me. "Where's Lola?"-- and she points to Lola. "Where's Nannie? (her grandmother)"-- and she looks around briefly before saying "I don't know!" (or the Millie version of that phrase, which is more like "Iuuunnnoo!!", but inflected exactly like you would expect to hear "I don't know!" and with the accompanying quizzical facial expression and shoulder shrug-upturned palms) "Where's Mill-Mill?"-- points to herself. That's what we call her most of the time now, and what she calls herself, so that's as established as Mommy and Daddy. "Where's Daddy?"-- points to Matt. "Where's Judy? (random name, don't think she knows any Judys)"-- I don't know! "Where's Petunia? (beloved stuffed lemur)"-- points to Petunia. So then after we do this for a minute and it's established that she is paying attention and thinking about the names, we throw in a nickname. "Where's Nuggie?"-- doesn't miss a beat, points to herself. Then you do a few more control names- Mommy, Lola. "Where's Nug-Nug?"-- points to herself. She's on a roll! More control names, then "where's Snuggles?"-- thinks, then points to herself.
We play this game until she starts losing interest. We did this several different times over the course of a few days and were really impressed with how many of her own nicknames she understood. And only then- after several days of playing, stretching the nicknames as far as I could- then it occurred to me.
"Hey, where's Camilla?"
Looks around the room. "I don't know!!"
Hahahaha. Awesome. Parents of the year. My beloved child will respond to Snuggles and Nut Nut, but has no concept of her given name. Not even a flicker of recognition in the ol' eyes. Camilla? Never heard of her.
And so that's it. I guess the moral of this story is that maybe you should use your child's actual name every once in a blue moon or so. OR- just name them Snuggles in the first place. Then you'll never be in this awkward situation.
|If I happen to be on a wagon ride, but I really want to also be holding Mommy and Daddy's hands...well, all I have to do is bat my eyelashes and it happens!|