I wish we had been successful at recording the sound of Kaya's (and my!) laughter tonight at bedtime...squeals of laughter, long silences while she tried to catch her breath, and on-going giggles were the happy notes coming from her room between 7:30 and 8pm. And it all started with what Geoff had been trying to teach her for three weeks: A. B. C.
Kaya was sitting on my lap, facing me, as we were reading books and drinking milk before bed (ok, you're right, only SHE was drinking milk...). I was wearing my St. Mary's Academy sweatshirt with the acronym SMA in big blue letters across the front. She suddenly noticed the letters, as she'd been saying "Mama". Geoff started saying, "SMAma", as a joke, at which point, Kaya pointed to the letters and said, "C". I was confused, but he caught on to the fact that she had connected the fact that these were letters on my shirt, just like the ones that Geoff usually points out when he says, "A, B, C" to her. So, after she said, "C", he said, "a, b, c", which is when she said, "A. B. C," for the first time. According to Geoff, she's been able to say the letters individually for at least two weeks, but tonight was the first time that she uttered them together, one right after the other.
In the grand scheme of things, I really don't think it's THAT big of a deal that she said, "a, b, c" together in order...but her response to our excitement--that's what gets me. That's where that recording would be SO great here! We were SO excited that she said it, that we hugged her and kissed her and made a big love pile of heads on the glider chair! We all snuggled for at least a minute, laughing and giggling and kissing and hugging. It was truly one of the best moments I've ever had. And the moment lived on for the next half an hour as Kaya continued to play with those sounds. A few minutes after initially saying "a, b, c," she said, "A, Baby, C," and began to laugh hysterically. This pattern continued for another 20 minutes, with her laughter causing me to laugh, too. At one point, as she was saying "baby", she indicated that she wanted to go get her baby from its bed. Within minutes, she was back on my lap, baby and all, making more silly sounds. But then, it hit her. That poor baby was tired and needed sleep, so once again, she slid off my lap and was down at the baby's cradle, baby in arm, laying a blanket over her sweet little dolly. "Baby Bett Mama," she said, as she laid down her little love, in her gentle, mothering way. But the laughter ramped again, once she was reminded that "baby" had been in the middle of "a" and "c". Despite my prior desire to calm her down for sleep (read: VERY challenging week of bedtimes after a week away from home), how could I put an end to such fun (and important language development!!)? Instead, I reversed the psychology, telling myself that I could surely tire her out if I got her to laugh REALLY hard...a VERY easy task if I just ran my fingers up her belly and lightly grabbed her chest. (Is there really anything better than the sound of toddler laughter?!)
My analytical brain is still wanting to find a place for this story, some sort of developmental milestone, despite my last "epiphany" in my last post about not "needing" to do that anymore.
Some things die hard.
But there is a place for this story, even if it doesn't officially stand to mark any official linguistic progress: I realized the other night that I've been SO focused on writing about and focusing on Kaya's German development, that I haven't given English it's fair spotlight. After all, we want her to be BI-lingual, right, with English as one of the languages? I've been SO afraid for all these months that the German-thing just wouldn't fly, that I couldn't let any of the limelight fall on the English aspect of this endeavor...So, I thought this little anecdote would be a fun way to remind me that her English development is important in this process, too.
And by the way, after 5 nights of 1-2 hours of crying and screaming at bedtime, I laid her down in her bed tonight after our giggle-fest, telling her that I'd just be outside her room if she needed me, "ok?"
"Yeah," she replied.
I then told her that she could go to sleep now and we'd come if she needed us. "Verstehst du,?" (Do you understand?) I asked her.
"Yeah," she said, again, with nary a quiver in her voice.
And then I walked out, fully expecting at least a whimper, but feeling only joy that the giggle-fest had had the side-effect I was secretly hoping for!