We have been gone so long from this Internet documentation of the girls’ lives, and they change so quickly, that I feel as if I have to introduce them all over again.
Emily is passionately striving to expand her vocabulary. She has mastered the most important things: “Where is the food?” “What is that food?” “Can I please have some food?” And, to a lesser extent, “May I have some food?”
She won’t go hungry.
Now she is on to the luxuries of language. She rolls words around her mouth as if learning English by taste. “Palm tree. Paaalllllmmmmmm. Palm.” It is, in a strange way, a bit like watching an office romance unfold.
Emily eyes the word from across the room. You can see it in her face when she hears it. She begins by asking about it, trying to be subtle, but it is clear whom she fancies. She may as well be asking if it is seeing anyone.
“The fire is so delightful…” I sing.
“Sing that part again… the fire part.” She asks.
Finally she begins slipping it into conversations where if not exactly out of place it is nonetheless awkward at best. “This dinner was delightful.” She says, though much of it sits untouched on her plate. Better yet, it comes out deyightful.
Also, she can now write all of the names in our family, including the pets, so they adorn absolutely everything. Stick figure pictures now have labels. No ears, mind you, but names.
And Thursday, while talking non-stop about who-knows-what (she gets that from me!), she told me about something she had typed out. “I put in z, y, x…” I tuned out for a bit while the string of letters seemed endless and without reason, then came back in again as she said, “e, d, c, b, a.”
“What did you say?” I’m not so good at hiding when I’m not listening. “Did you just say the alphabet backwards?”
“Do it again.” And she did, and not the way that I would do it, by saying one letter and then singing through the alphabet until I got to the next letter. She said it, albeit slowly, as though she was reading it. Apparently, her strength will, most likely be, in passing sobriety tests. So she’s got that going for her, which is nice.
Claudia, on the other hand, has given up what little language she had acquired and has instead embraced a single, solitary word, changing only her inflection to fit the situation.
The word? Mom. Or, more specifically, “Maaaaaaaaam”. Or “Maw am.” (said with a teenagers distain) Or “Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom.”
Oh, and she’s decided to change her name to Jo Jo. So much for months spent combing baby name books.