Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Baby Love

The Boss has taken to belting out "baby" at intervals for which I cannot seem to determine the motivation. She learned the word just last week when her grandparents brought her first baby doll. She held it; she kissed it; she fed it a bottle. She called it "baby."

Since then, the word has taken on a heightened significance. She looks at pictures of herself as a newborn and says "baby." She wakes from nap screeching "baby" as a way to get my attention. She looks in the mirror and sees a baby. When her father puts her in her crib at night, it's to a chorus of "baby, baby, baby."

We first thought she was asking for her doll each time she'd say it. That quickly proved not to be the case. Then I started thinking she was simply babbling to hear herself speak (which, by the way, would be yet another indication that she is almost entirely her father's daughter). But with each passing "baby," the truth became clearer and clearer to me. The Boss is starting to figure herself out.

When she wakes from naps, she's telling me she's ready to be picked up. "This baby is done sleeping" would be the rough translation, I think. It's a basic tactic, but even before I figured out the meaning, it worked.

That baby in the mirror is her. "Guk! Baby!" becomes "Look! It's me! I'm a baby!" to the enlightened mama.

And at bedtime, it's again the girl that hates her crib. "I'm not tired. Why don't you get it? Babies don't like to sleep!"

Watching her slow ride into the realms of thinking, feeling and articulating makes me feel like the only mother in the world--past, present and future. I've heard about the joys of watching children grow, but other people's recollections never meant anything to me. They still mean nothing. The only thing that reverberates against the closed doors of perception is the strange, personal newness of growing my own human being. Her life is something I need to experience for myself to truly understand.

I will learn slowly and, more often than not, the hard way; but even if she's more her father's daughter than she is mine, so will she.


jen said...

i have no idea if this relates at all to what you were conveying, but i often wonder how much of the shadow side our child(ren) take on from us and our relationship. if we feel they need to grow up, do they regress, if we can't express anger, do they express it tenfold, that sort of thing. the little turkeys are mirrors for the parts we wish to keep hidden.

am not sure how this relates to the Boss' baby naming as of late, but it made me think of it regardless.

Lauren said...

I love her. I love you. You're the best mom ever. :)

Thailand Gal said...

I think this is fascinating! Childhood development is something I know little about.. but continue to learn things from these blogs.

"Baby, baby"... hm. :)



Whirlwind said...

Moe too loves the word baby. Any child smaller tan herself that she doesn't know their name is "baby". Pictures are baby. Dolls are baby. She however, is NOT baby. If someone csays baby in refernece to her, she looks around for the so-called baby.

T. said...

Well written.

As usual. I'm starting to get jealous here, Binky. You have a marvellous way with words, which I covet.

Mom101 said...

I love this post. And especially because we are in the EXACT same phase right now. She used to just say "bay" but when we got her to understand the second syllable, it was like she never wanted to stop saying it. She gets so excited seeing other kids on the street just so she can yell BABY! BABY!

Kate said...

It's such a cute age when stuff like that happens. When they start to speak and notice the world around them. It's truly fascinating to watch.

Jenifer said...

It's fun to see my daughter's interpretation of this word also. Especially since her brother has been born. He is never called by just his name, to her he is "Baby Cayden". When you ask her what's your brother's name? "Baby Cayden" is her automatic response. It was interesting though the other day I was singing some song (I don't remember which I sing so many) to her that has a line about her being "my baby"...her response...

"No mommy, I not a baby, I a big gurl, baby Cayden a baby."

Hmph, well I'll be darned, I guess she's right.

Sandra said...

Great post. And it is so true that we can only really understand when we live it.