- when she sees Papa sitting too close to Mama?
"MYYYYYY!" (in loud warning tone, complete with a proprietary hand on Mama's shoulder)
- when she almost falls off the sofa but manages not to at the last minute?
"Oh my gott!"
- before she leaves for her first day of school after Christmas break?
"Bye-bye Papa, be good!"
I am beginning to understand now why all parents think their children are geniuses. For me, all Moppet's milestones before this pale in comparison. Sure it was exciting to see her roll, sit, stand, walk, run, and climb, but this - the talking - it just takes my breath away.
When she marches up to me and gives my hand a little shake and says 'How ARE ya?', flashing a toothy grin and looking for all the world like a pint-sized politician canvassing for my vote.
When she runs up with her little doodle board and asks me to draw her a motoboat, sailboat, fishboat, tugboat, and fewwyboat, all from the memory of the pictures in one of her books.
When, desperate to get away from my tickling fingers, she yells "Mama foal hans!" copying a trick we use (fold your arms) when she gets too fidgety.
When she climbs into a taxi with me and instructs the driver in a firm little voice to 'Lee kwa' (liaw khwaa, meaning 'turn right' in Thai).
When she points out the sights as we drive along, "Mama look! Pink umbella. Billoo kaa. Chishmish tee. Ellow bus. Again bus. Big bus. Wheels wound and wound. Mama sing!"
Somewhere in the back of my head I am aware that it's really just a normal part of growing up. All kids do it. But watching it unfold right before my eyes, at a speed that I cannot believe is real - it's like watching one of those Nat Geo videos where you see a flower bloom right in front of you.
There's nothing quite like it. Despite 25 plus years of using the english language, I still can't find the words to describe it.