My daughter Scout is achingly close to telling me she loves me. I was fooled yesterday into believing she had spoken the words, while I clutched both her and a teddy bear and reading books before a nap. But it was there, in my mind, for a fraction of a moment: I LOVE YEW DADDIE. She said it. I heard it. It came out of nowhere. I had not mentioned first that I loved her. I was reading one of her stories (The Big Brag, the third of three tales in the classic Seuss opus Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories; she refers to it as BEARBUNNYBEARBUNNY, spoken in a pleading, read-this-or-I-freak tone).
But instant replay does not lie – she was talking to the bear. Like this: I LOVE YEW TEDDY. Nuts.
But, because I often toss into our book-reading repertoire a hand-me-down tome called I Love My Mommy Because, she can now profess a love for Mommy – even if she is simply quoting a book (and so far, not to her face). She quotes a lot of books these days, and YouTube clips. Rote memorization. It's scary. She quotes her book Dude: Fun With Dude and Betty (HI DUDE WASSUP, DUDE WAY COOL GUY). She interjects her practicing of ABCs with random blurts of COOKIEMONSTER, like this Sesame Street snippet with Kermit the Frog and a girl named Joey. She quotes Cookie Monster (UMNUMNUM). She can sing JINGABELLS or OH BABY COLD OUSSIDE.
It's the beginning of that tantalizing and dangerous period in a family-with-a-toddler. It is fun to hear her beg for a HIGH FIVE, or echo a coaxed BUMMA DUDE. It will not be as fun to listen to her first GADAMMIT, or worse.