January 8, 2008
I hope your flight was good, Mommy!
It was a really wonderful visit, and I am so happy my mom was here for as long as she was - almost three weeks.
It's extraordinary how much Lara can change in that time, and I think for my mom, just watching her suddenly have a new grasp of complex, preposition clause-laden sentences was really a gift, since she doesn't get to see it often in real life.
The evolution of speech from short bursts of syllabic noise to long convoluted descriptions of everyday life are a miraculous, precious, living experiment. I am so grateful that I have spent so much of my life in the minutia of language - enough to not only clap with wonderment at each new tiny step of Lara's learning, but to also be able to name what she has learned. Look, the present perfect! - and of course it makes sense that this would be the tense easiest to learn since she exists to herself solely in the moment. Look, an instinctive ability to determine parts of speech! - and can anyone explain how she would come to instantly realize the first time hearing it, that in the phrase "Oh, that's interesting!," the word "interesting" is an adjective and instantly create her own version of the exclamation - "Oh, that's an in-testing wall!"; while at the same time knowing that in the sentence "Oh, look at that hippo!" the "hippo" is a noun that can be replaced only with any other noun? I marvel at the brain's ability to make such exacting sense of the miscellany that surrounds it.
Ok, enough awe. I have to tell you about January 1st. On every New Year's Day here in Philly, we have the Mummers Parade, which... well, just click the link because you kind of just have to see the pictures of these guys. We took Lara to Broad Street to check out the action, but it was cold and full of drunken frat types, so we
opted to watch most of it at home on TV. When I tell you that Lara was absolutely consumed by the costumes, the music, and the dancing, I am underrepresenting the level of fascination. For a while she just looked, but quickly she began to also dance - and not just dance, but dance with her back right against the screen so that she would be leading the brigades. Then she grabbed her colorful place mat and danced holding it behind her head to make herself a mumming costume! We were dying, as you can imagine. The place mat was kind of a weak costume so I busted out her Jessie Cowgirl Hat (always the full title, the way Lara identifies it), and every single day since she has demanded to wear this hat while we sing either "Frosty the Snowman" or "Old MacDonald" and she prances around the living room saying "yike
parade! yike parade! you in the movie! you in the movie!" She's still working out which is "you" and which is "I". Oh, and hey - while doing all this daily dancing-prancing, she has figured out how to jump with both feet at the same time.
(No, that's not our house - Lara is just obsessed with sitting on every stoop we pass. Although, if we were Christian, wouldn't this make a great Christmas card? We'll have to find a blue door next year.)