I pulled out a pad of paper to jot down a few ideas for my blog post, and the toddler to my right (my son Emmett’s friend) inquired, “Mommy write?”
Impressed with her command of the word “write,” I joyfully responded, “Yes. I’m going to write!”
To this, she replied, “Mommy write?”
Again, “Yes. Write.”
Still, the dialogue dragged on. “Mommy write?”
I kid not, after I spent several minutes capturing this conversation on paper, she turned to me yet again, and with a reverse in sentence structure, stated, “Write. Mommy.”
Repetition. Repetition. More repetition.
This is my world. Each day with a toddler brings more recycled conversations, more redundant requests, more questions endlessly answered in exactly the same way.
Sometimes our repetition is playful – we mimic one another’s whacky facial expressions or inadvertently create games. Just last week I observed Emmett standing at the head of my bed, casually glancing out the window and talking to himself, all the while feigning engagement with the world outside. Suddenly, he released his grip from the windowsill and fell, with all of gravity’s mite, onto the bed beside me. Amused, I giggled and joined in. The instant I knelt beside him and began chattering quietly as he had, I knew we had stumbled upon a new pastime. Sure enough, each time we fell backward in unison, he exclaimed, “gain, gain” [“again, again”], and we now play this game daily!
Other times the repetition is not so entertaining. It’s tedious, monotonous, and extremely taxing on Mama’s patience! Just now I asked Emmett three times to please stop gagging himself with the handle of his spoon. You’d think one gag would aptly teach the lesson on its own. Alas, no. He gagged. I asked. He gagged. I asked. He gagged. I asked. Three times. And the only reason the uvula exploration finally ended is that Emmett’s spoon tumbled out of his reach!
But through all this repetition, one very amazing thing is happening: Emmett’s language skills are developing rapidly. Like the ocean’s rhythm, every time I cast a word into the waves of our conversations, I find that in another tidal cycle, that very word finds its way back to me in Emmett’s vocabulary. And so I shall plug along in my cyclical world of words, because at each revolution, I feel any exasperation melting as I bask in the joy of witnessing my son’s language grow. And grow. And grow. And…