Today's star: Talia Lily.
Talia is deep. As I've spent more one-on-one time with her these past months, I've been repeatedly impressed by how vibrant, complex, and multi-faceted she is. Energized, she positively dominates the room with her booming voice and boisterous play. Tired or insecure, and she disappears into thumb-sucking, quiet introspection. Ever an enigma, I feel like each day I discover more and more about our Tally Wally, yet it only scratches the surface.
Since my labels fail to capture this spirit that cannot be pigeon-holed, I'll let her own words do the talking. Over the past six months, her language skills have really blossomed, allowing us to better glimpse what goes on in that busy mind.
"All the days I'm hungry."
"I wish candy was food."
"Please can we get some candy when we get home, or some soda, or something sugary?"
Yes, Talia really is that obsessed with sweets. While snitching candy is off-limits, Talia keeps crossing that boundary. Periodically I'll find a step-stool placed on top of a chair so that she can reach the candy bowl on top of the fridge. I've uncovered secret stashes of lollipops and candy canes all around the house. Once the heavy ceramic sugar canister disappeared. I looked all over, wondering where I might have absent-mindedly placed it before I finally found it--in Talia's closet. Hmmm, rather suspicious.
Mom: Bless you.
Talia: I didn't bless you, I coughed.
Translation: I didn't sneeze, I coughed.
Like her mother, Talia "bless yous" often, usually sneezing three or four times in a row. Ah choo!
Talia at the park: Don't you wanna be my friend? Don't you?I love Talia's optimism here, fully expecting a positive response (despite the fact that the the little girl she was talking to didn't speak English). It also shows her quasi-in-your-face assertiveness. When interacting with her peers, Talia is rarely shy or reserved. Rather, she fearlessly jumps right in. She followed around two ten year-old boys at the park for thirty minutes the other day, fetching their fallen nerf darts until they finally included her in their game.
"You don't see me."
Translation: Don't look at me. I immediately drop whatever I'm doing to look whenever I hear this, because it's a sure-fire announcement that she's up to major mischief.
Talia has quite the nose in the family, and is always the first to notice any unpleasant odors. No doubt the sniffing talent comes from the Wheeler side of the family; does the "stinkering" come from mine?
"That's so yum!"
"That's so yuck!"
The linguist in me can't help but notice her unique adjective formation.
"I didn't saw it."
In this utterance Talia has unnecessarily formed the past tense twice with the verbs "did" and "saw." I would explain to my ESL students that since the "do" verb has already been modified, the following verb should remain unchanged ("see.") Of course, I guess nobody's explained that to Talia yet. Isn't it amazing that we ever learn languages?
From a very young age, Talia's been obsessed with scissors (an obsession second only to her love for sugar.) She'll take random pieces of paper and dissect them into teeny tiny scraps (that she usually leaves strewn around the house.) At the moment, however, she's banned from using scissors completely after cutting the carpet, a doll's hair, and even her own hair.
Last but not least, Talia is our fairy princess. She sulks every time that is forced to wear pants because she is positively convinced that princesses only wear skirts or dresses. Worse yet, since watching Tangled she only wants "long hair" like Rapunzel, so she turns her nose up at anything besides a headband to keep her wild locks out her face. The power struggles are so exhausting that most days I give in and let her pick out her own ensemble. Besides, dressing up makes Talia so happy that I can't help but melt at the sight of Talia prancing around and singing to herself about how beautiful she is. Better yet, if I don't like her outfit, all I have to do is wait an hour and she's certain to be wearing something else. She has more wardrobe changes in a day than I do in a week. While I often find this wearying, as Talia performed her own dancing show for me this afternoon, complete with a wand, jeweled shoes, and glitter tights, I smiled to myself and thought that this stage just can't last long enough.
Remind me of that when I'm picking clothes off the floor tomorrow.