I spent years fretting over every word Javi said (or didn't say) when he was still my chubby toddler chunk. I was home with him until he was six months old, then he went to a psycho sitter's for one month, and then I moved him to a sweet Mexican mama with four extremely well-mannered boys. I was so relieved to have him somewhere safe and loving ... until I realized the Spanish immersion by day and only English by night and weekends was confusing his brain.
He was almost three before the effects of this language confusion finally faded away. But until then, he spoke in grunts and single-word sentences. He could follow any command, but couldn't ask a question to save his life. The tantrums were horrible and more than one person took it upon themselves to let me know he was spoiled and high maintenance and poorly behaved ... because the frustration level was so high, he acted out when words failed him.
Now our toddler chunk is a curly-headed diva named Bella and she is the most verbal almost-three-year-old in the history of our family. Even my dad, who can't spare a compliment for the grand kids, can't resist commenting on her vocabulary. I try not to be prideful and boast about her, but it warms me up inside to know that she'll never know what it feels like to be trapped inside your own mind like her big brother did.
But even with this vocabulary (which comes with an amazing ability to recall songs, conversations, promises), the child can't get it right every time. Take this evening, for instance. There we were: Dad, Mom, Auntie, and Brother, all sitting and staring in rapt attention as she sang every song she knows (including Monster Mash) and taking requests when her mind blanked on what song to sing next. Auntie Ashley requested Old McDonald ... and this is what we got:
Old McFarmer had a dog and Bingo was his name-o
B-L-L-L-A, B-L-L-L-A, B-L-L-L-A
And Bella was her name-o
Priceless, right? After she finished, we clapped and she bowed to each and every one of us. Thank you. And thank you. And thank you. And thank you. Who am I to correct her or train her on nursery rhyme lyrics? My job is to encourage that little mind, applaud her confidence, and give thanks that I'm basking in the free flow of words rather than wringing my hands in worry.
I am doing that in spades. I promise.