Little 10 month old Megan has a mentor. Its not hard to imagine who it is. He's a tad over 3 feet tall and he's got two more years of life experience than she has. Yup, Megan idolizes her big brother. She tries to do what he does. She insists on having what he has - even if it means taking something away from him and making him really pissed off in the process. He'll snatch it back from her -- making her cry because she's lost her prize, as he yells "That's MINE! She can't have it! MOM!"
Today, Megan has demonstrated a new level of confidence in one budding skill and a new progression in another skill. We can't credit Logan with her willingness to walk the length of the house on her own. But we can for her mouth. At least some of it.
Some kids put the brakes on miscellaneous areas of development to focus on one big thing. They'd grow quiet as they learned to walk, for example. Not Meg. No, she seems to just knock down a whole bunch of milestones at one time as if she was a bowler gunning for that perfect 300.
When she first started to experiment with walking on her own a month ago, she simultaneously entered that really fun stage of language development we like to call parroting. Say something to her and she attempts to repeat it back to you. The result is that she has a decent sized vocabulary to use as she bravely lets ago of a table for her 3-4 foot walk to the nearest warm body. Most of her 'words' are not something the average stranger would recognize as being such. Those of us in her daily world, however, know exactly what she's saying. You hear it in context often enough and her realize that "dah" means doll and "Elmah" is her beloved "Elmo."
Today, with Daddy away on business, Grandma, Papa, Logan, Megan and I hit the Ice Cream festival downtown. We made a pit stop at the library so the boy could get his second sticker. As Logan walked around looking for new stories to absorb, Megan made her way to the board books. She sat herself down near a shelf and began to pull books just as she does at home. She stopped her raid when her fingers found the "duh-kah" (duck) book. She laughed. She clapped. She tossed it at me. We added it to the pile to bring home.
And that was about the extent of her willingness to look for books. She wanted up. She wanted to yank 'big kid' books off the shelves. She wanted to sing. She wanted to destroy, er explore. Grandma took her for a walk. They found a small, stuffed Dora the Explorer in the stacks of books. Megan grabbed at it. Megan held it tight, squishing Dora's head into the soft, round, baby fat cheeks and neck she still sports.
We left well enough alone for a while. Megan held on to that doll for dear life. Looking at it lovingly (coveting it perhaps) and gently caressing its hair. She'd press it back to her face and whisper "Ahhh." The adults, being all responsible citizens, decided to devise a plan to return Dora to her library shelf home.
"Meggie, honey, we have to put Dora back," said Grandma.
That's when Meg showed her new ability - the ability to combine two words together. She glared at Grandma. She pulled Dora in tighter.
I stopped walking. I turned and stared at her. I looked at my mom. "Did I just hear..." I said, but before I could finish the question, Grandma had started saying "I think she just said my..."
But Meg spoke up again, interrupting as she did so. "MAH DAH!" She said vehemently.
Logan heard it. Logan laughed. "My doll," he deciphered for the strangers nearest him. "She thinks that Dora is her doll. My silly baby sister. She's so cute."
In case we thought it a freak thing, Megan repeated the concept later in the day when the dog tried to reclaim her ball. Sydney (Grandma and Papa's dog) picked up a rubber ball Megan had been tossing away and then crawling after. Megan's lip quivered. She yelled "Dawg!" (Dog!) She stared at Sydney. Then she demanded its return by saying "Mah ball!"
Of all the things she could pick up from Logan, she picks up the concept of "mine" and how to vocalize it. Nice.