It really amazes me how verbal Maia has become since she first uttered a clear word (9 months old and she screamed for Daddy at the ER - she went Daaaaaaaaah-deeee!). From simple phrases, she's now speaking in sentences. What's even more fascinating is, she can relay a story to us from weeks and even months ago vividly. Like this story from one of our summer vacations to Antique for instance of how her cousin Gogol who was without slippers would chase chickens in Lolo's backyard. The chicken was red and black, she would add. That came from out of nowhere. (In between chuckles she'd go: Mommy, si Manong Gogol wala slippers takbo sya dun sa likod ng bahay ni Lolo. Habol nya chicken. Yung red. Tsaka yung black)
During breakfast, I was preparing her a bowl of oatmeal when she exclaimed - "Ayaw ko nang oatmeal, Mommy! Ayaw ko nyan!" Then she proceeded to say, "Gusto ko ng egg! Egg ang gusto ko!" There was this one time that I called home to ask how she was doing and she goes: "Mommy, nasan ka? Nasa office? Nasan Daddy ko? Maya ha? Chuckie ko ha?" Then I go, "meron ka pa dyan sa ref isa pa." She answers back, "Eh inom ko na to. Mamaya wala na"
Yes, along with the verbal progress came the realization that she can now speak her mind and influence us to give in to what she wants. We did and still do encourage her to speak out. And it is on our conscious effort to always talk to her straight (no baby talk please) and communicate constantly that she learned to speak this way. We are truly happy with how that effort has come to be.
On the other hand, we also realized that from this day forward we need to be extra cautious and conscious. We do acknowledge that we are entirely, fully responsible when it came to censorship of the things that this little girl reads, hears and sees. So now we have to be more choosy of the movies we watch when she's around and of course be even more picky with the shows she watches on TV or on the computer. We try not to watch the news when she's around because one time when a police report on TV flashed a dead body she was quick to react and ask what it was. "Ano yun Mommy dog? Nabundol ng car ang dog, Mommy?" I didn't know how to respond then. I just said Yes. We are not trying to shield her from reality but we just want her to take things slowly. Violence is the last thing we'd want her to learn at this point so we try to delay that as much as we could.
It isn't easy trying to be watchful of every single word you say. Especially with my quite talkative nature (yes I am, once I've warmed up), it is usually me who accidentally spills in a 'bad' word or two and end up wishing I could literally take back what I said. But of course I couldn't, so I'd end up praying she didn't hear it. Or if worse comes to worst and she speaks of it we try to explain to her what that word meant and when would be the appropriate time to use it. Some days we get lucky with the explanations, most times they seem to have fallen on deaf ears but we shouldn't give up. That's our mantra at home.
There's no denying how smart kids of this generation are and I don't think we only have genetics to thank for that. The technology of this age just makes all types of information readily accessible and available for people of all ages. And as working parents, my hubby and I acknowledge that we do not have 100% control over that accessibility. And with that we think the best weapon we have against that is our unyielding guidance and constant communication with the little one.
Most days, we really relish this milestone because it is the greatest way our little girl ever could express to us how much she loves us. Like this morning for instance, while bidding her dad goodbye she goes: "Babay Daddy! I love you! Sabihin mo, I love you too!" (Bye Daddy, I love you. You should say, You love me too!)
Ah the joy of parenting a toddler! It isn't always terrible, most days they really are terrific!
I leave you with this video of a 3-month old Maia talking to her Dad. I didn't know that was already her cluing us in of non-stop conversations to come.