Earlier this week a co-worker inquired about my little imps. She was properly amused by the antics of my oldest. Before I could continue onto Meg's latest impish delights, she smiled and said "And the baby? I guess at about a year they're not much they do other than look cute, right?"
Sure, I know that Megan's latest joy - putting a cap on and off an empty plastic bottle - doesn't sound like a lot. I know it's something that would make many adults not sharing genetic code with the little tyke roll their eyes in boredom. Yet I don't see it that way.
Sure, it's just a cap and it's just a water bottle. And ok, so she yells and complains when she gets the cap on tight but can't get it off so sometimes it's incredibly aggravating for us all. It is also, however, an incredible building block.
Today my 3 year old is learning how to use scissors. He can cut out basic shapes. He can even trim his hair. (Isn't that lovely? Blech!) He's developed the fine motor skills to manage such tasks. He didn't always have it. No, he honed that. He built that through simple, mundane, repetitive tasks such as putting a bottle cap on and off repeatedly. Over and over. Hours wasted twisting that cap on, yelling, laughing as someone else hands it back to him, and then twisting it on again.
Megan isn't just amusing herself with simple recycable trash. No, she's exercising all the physical and mental muscles she'll need some day to write her name or hold a chop-stick. She's laying the ground work for great and sometimes mudane things.
She does a lot of this sort of thing. She really enjoys working on her verbal skills. At 15-months old, there is very little Megan Rose can not communicate. She might not always use a word you can understand, but she damn well knows how to get her point across. She'll say, for example, "Ohler. Mama, ohler!"
Mama will say "Honey, I don't understand what you want."
She says it again, "Mama ohler!" She'll pull my hand to her, turn it over so the palm faces up and place a crayon in my hand. She'll push paper to me. "Mama ohler."
And so, Mama ohler's her some flowers and butterflies. She'll clap and then when she's had enough of my lacking art skills, she'll push my hand from her paper. She'll select her own crayon, stick the tip to her lips for good measure and then set about coloring for herself. If I should attempt to join her she'll glare at me and admonish me "No. I do."
She likes to cook. She insists on being held whenever we're in the kitchen - wooden spoon in her hand, stirring as best she can. She loves to feed herself and anyone else who's face gets close enough to her reach. She loves to read books. She'll flip pages and recite what she's memorized on each one. Little bits of rhyme here and there.
She follows simple directions at least two steps deep, sometimes more. She dances and sings. She climbs and climbs and climbs. She comforts. She has this keen sense when something is not right. She does what she can to bring a smile or a laugh. She snuggles and hugs. She gives kisses.
She understands more than we realize. This very day, when my coworker assumed Megan was just a cute, babbling, waddling lump of sorts, my daughter showed herself to be so much more. I called to my mom's to check on the kids. Logan had the flu - or something flu like (which I think I'm coming down with, ACK!!) Megan heard the phone. She begged for it. "Gama, Gama! Own! I do! I DO!"
I heard her breath coming slowly and expectantly through my ear piece. "Hi Megan." I said to her. I heard her surprise, her delight. "Mama." And then silence followed by Grandma's almost teary sigh.
"Do you know what she did?" my mom asked. Of course I did not.
"When she heard your voice she pulled the phone back from her ear, said your name and then kissed the phone."
Yeah, at one year old, I think the kid can do a whole lot. She certainly knows how to make your day.