ESPN Wisconsin

Chatty Cathy

Nov 01, 2011 -- 10:59pm

I am quite certain that every parent thinks their child is the most beautiful, brilliant, well-behaved, wonderful small human being on the planet. Thus, I try not to make too big of a deal out of the developmental mileposts Madison reaches because, well, they’re all first-time events for us, so we have no idea if she’s ahead of the curve, behind the curve or just normal. All we know is that we get really excited about them.

My morning email inbox is always filled with newsletters about child development. For instance, My Toddler This Week sends me weekly gauges of what Madison should be doing. This week’s email subject line: Your 21 month old: Week 3, which was about how she should be getting to the point where she’ll try to climb out of her crib. Thankfully, she limits her climbing at this point to the side of her high chair and kitchen stools to steal cupcakes.

Now, as a rule, Madison has been ahead of schedule in comparison to most of these landmarks. I’ve joked before about gymnastics being encoded in her DNA because of Paula’s decorated career in the sport; while I did get Maddie a balance beam for her first Christmas, we don’t go all Marv Marinovich on her and force her to use it.

I would like to think that while it’s obvious Maddie got her apparent athleticism from her mom, she may have gotten her vocabulary from her dad. We’ve had a couple of parents comment that she talks as much as a typical 3- or 4-year-old, but since I don’t have a basis for actual comparison, I don’t know if that’s true.

What I do know is that it is absolutely fascinating to me to listen to her non-stop conversations.

When it comes to eating, she’s like a junior Drew Rosenhaus, negotiating whether she can have “nem-i-nems” (M&Ms) in her yogurt and if she gets to control the shaking of “spicys” (a canister of Italian seasoning) onto her organic breaded baked chicken nuggets.

When she is watching Sesame Street or playing with Paula's iPad apps, she has no problem pointing out her favorite characters, Elmo, Cookie Monster, Zoe and "Ah-car" (Oscar). 

When we’re coloring, she has mastered most of the primary colors – “geen,” “yeh-whoa” and “boo” are her favorites, although “red” is the only one she correctly enunciates.

When it comes to asserting her independence, there is no misunderstanding her clear-as-a-bell pronouncement of the fact that she has the situation completely under control: “I do it! I do it!”

And when we’re in the car, we cannot go through a four-way stop without her pointing out each and every “OCK-ka-gahn!” (octagon, or what a normal child would call a “stop sign”) we see. Her backseat parroting has also forced me to clean up the language I use to assess the driving skills of other motorists I encounter on the road.

She has also learned a new word that I predict will become her favorite, and leave her parents searching for answers on a regular basis.


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