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Beware the 'ocodile.

Claire has become quite the chatterbox lately. I noticed this as she was relating something in great detail over lunch the other day. I understood almost half of what she was saying. It was very involved. And it struck me as funny to hear Claire expressing herself so thoroughly.

You get to know your children as infants. Infants have their own ways of communicating, both unsubtle (screaming their fool heads off) and subtle (it's amazing what they can express with their eyes, but maybe that's because of all the time I spent gazing into them as a besotted mother). The communications means and sophistication grow along with the child, but even when they learn to talk it's short and to the point. There is no misunderstanding the intent of a toddler thrusting their bottle at you and demanding "Milk!"

The fact that this small person is mostly non-verbal gets tied up in their identity as you know it. You are accustomed to them not being conversationalists. Then one day they wake up and tell you, "Mama! I dreamed that there were 'ocodiles under my cribby! Then the 'ocodile came out and tried to bite me and hid in the closet! I want some breakfast now. I want Cheerios and milk and a piece of 'na, please." And you do a double take and wonder just when exactly this tiny person became someone you could talk with instead of to. And the way you perceive them is permanently altered. And not for the last time.

Growing up is sneaky that way. One day they're learning to sit up, the next day they're learning to drive. I'm really enjoying watching the process, but does it have to go so quickly?

I know exactly what you mean. Every time I catch myself in a "real" conversation with my 2-year old, I do a double-take and wonder what happened to my little blob of helpless baby.

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