As Karson and Lucy approach two years of age, Nate and I are constantly reminiscing about how far they have come. They’ve learned and grown so much. We’re always amazed at how much they understand what we say and the world around them. Though their words are still limited and sentences are still coming along, they still communicate with us, and can respond (albeit sometimes selectively) with action.
When asked, they will; help each other, fetch something for me, put something away, and completely engage in our conversations. Just the other day, Nate tried to blame a fart on Lucy. She understood what he was saying and when I asked her if she let out a toot, she calmly pointed back at Nate.
It’s so easy to forget how much they understand us. And when a breakdown in communication occurs it’s almost always because Nate and I can’t reciprocate the understanding.
Some days it feels like a constant game of 20 questions. “You want this?” I ask. They scream and shake their head no. “This?” More screaming. “This?… This?… This one?” I feel like I’ve gone through every possible option until finally I realize Lucy wanted to pick out her own piece of bacon or Karson wanted a spoon instead of a fork. Sometimes “baby” can sound like “peepee” or “moo milk” might sound like their version of “more please.”
Sometimes they’ll identify something, and with cryptic enunciation, repeat it’s name until I decipher and acknowledge what they see. Other times when they don’t have the word for it, they’ll grunt. Although we’re always trying to encourage them to use their words and learn new words, sometimes they resemble a couple cavemen stumbling around, grunting incessantly.
Sometimes especially towards the end of the day, I don’t have the patience to go through the 20 questions game to figure out what it is they’re trying to communicate and I figure they just have to deal with it. But how frustrating that must be for them. They’re old enough to know they can communicate but not always practiced enough to do it effectively. It must just look like I’m ignoring them when I give up. No one likes to feel ignored.
Communication breakdowns can be frustrating for all of us. I get frustrated because I feel helpless when I can’t figure out what’s bothering them or something they need.
But each day they learn more. I know soon enough, they’ll be talking non stop. Those grunts will be replaced with a million questions I’ll never be able to fully answer and back talk that will make me miss the grunting. But then there will also be the reflection of their little precious souls.
Just yesterday, for the first time, Karson repeated “I love you” as I was strapping him in his car seat. Whether he was just repeating my words or trying to communicate his feelings towards me, I’m not quite sure, but I’ll assume the latter. My heart melted right there. It seems like just yesterday they couldn’t hold up their own heads and now they’re giving me tightly squeezed bear hugs and the sweetest, tender kisses. It’s not easy raising toddlers but it sure is easy to love them!