The Chatterboxth

Almost overnight, Moira’s speech blossomed from a lot of single words and a handful of two-word sentences into full-blown conversations. And monologues. And decrees, and orders. All at top volume.

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It should not surprise any of you that her first language is “Sassy,” nor that one of her first long sentences was “No Mama! I DO IT MYSELF.” Except she has the most precious little two-year-old lisp, the kind that they outgrow all too quickly, so it’s actually “No Mama! I DO IT MYTHELF.”

And she does do it herthelf. She insists (or inthithts, if you prefer). Fiercely independent, that one, and you best not deny her the satisfaction of doing something she could do for herself by doing it your way to save time. Our routines have gotten longer, but Moira’s confidence has grown undeniably. 

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The best part of her newfound voice is when she tries to make friends. She usually does so with aplomb. We ran into friends at the grocery store, and their little girl Natalie is just about Moira’s age. Moira had pink wellie boots on, and so did Natalie. “Look! I have pink wellies!” “MAMA, NATALIE HAS PINK WELLIES! I HAVE PINK WELLIES.” Similar taste in shoes is a sound basis for friendship, as far as I’m concerned.

Another attempt at making a connection was less successful, but pretty funny (if also a little insulting). At the pool at my grandmother’s condo in Florida, we encountered a group of 16-year-old spring breakers and their parents. Moira paddled up in her brand-new Disney Princess swimmy float (a gift from a friend) and proceeded to give them all a tour of the characters and the castles. That she didn’t really know all of the characters didn’t stop her. “DITH IS CINDERYELLYA AND DITH HER CATHLE AND…” After the fourth or fifth round through her soliloquy I could see “She’s so adorable” giving away to “polite interest” to “This again?” so I came over to save them.

“Moira, honey, come swim with me.”

“NO. I TALKIN’ MY FRIENDS. YOU SWIM BY OOSELF.”

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Buuuuuuurn. As soon as they left she acted like we were best buddies again, but I knew the thcore. This kid is going to drop me like a hot potato as soon as she’s old enough to navigate the mall with her babysitting money and a gaggle of pink-booted buddies.

She loves stories, and like her sister she enjoys Frozen. We were asking the girls “What do they need to thaw Anna?” Moira called it in: “It’s love! IT’S TRUE LOVE!” And she positioned my face in front of hers for a very sweet, very soggy, “TRUE LOVE KISS, MAMA.” Then she gave her sister a “True love hug, Sis-Sis.”

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That part is my favorite. She’s rambunctious and a handful, and she can be way too rough, but she’s a basically very loving child and verbalization has given her a new way to share her love: noisily, sloppily, messily, perfectly. People complain about the Terrible Twos and Threes, and while I can’t deny that those ages have their challenges it can all be redeemed by the tone. You know the one–not the one clamoring for a snack, or howling after bedtime. No, no. This one is much purer: that breathless, “OH MY GOSH ARE YOU SERIOUS?!” gasp of realization when they just have to share something with you, or play a game, and it can’t wait. It just can’t. IT’TH TOO IMPORTANT.

Long, long ago I used to be in my town’s recreation department’s skiing program. (You can do that in Maine and not go dead-broke.) We left before dark and were on the slopes first thing on Sunday mornings. Nobody had touched the powder groomed just the night before, and the mountain face we skied faced east so the new morning sunlight made the slope sparkle like a fabulous spray of diamonds. I attended church until I was eighteen but never felt closer to a true spiritual moment on a Sunday morning than those mornings in New England, full of glittering, crackling freshness and possibility.

That’s how toddlers talk, to me: like skiing on a sunny Sunday morning. And there’s no finer feeling than them loving you and wanting you to be part of their possibilities. 

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Thanks, Moira. Thanks for letting us in, and for telling us all about it.