My what a difference a few months make. Ali is a year and a half (and a bit), and all the things are clicking. She’s running. She’s climbing up and onto shit that is way too high. She’s talking… a LOT. There is so much I want to remember.
These are a few Ali-isms, in Ali word form.
“KEEEN-up” – The kid doesn’t mind using a bit of elbow grease. The other day she accidentally spilled some water on my pants while we were reading together. “Ah. Now I’m all wet,” I said. We finished the book, and she went to grab another one. She disappeared for a while. When she came back, she had a towel in hand, which she used to wipe my pants dry without a single prompt. (Did I teach her that?)
“Stor-EEE” – Ali’s favorite books include The Little Train (“choo choo”), The Pout Pout Fish (pou-pou-pou), Trucks (“trucks”), Everywhere Babies (“babiessss!”), Hello World: San Francisco (“ding ding” for the sound the trolley car makes), Little Yellow Bee (“beeeeee!), The Eye Book (“eyez”), The Nose Book (“no-s”), All the World (“alldaworl”), Bear Snores On (“bear”), Are You My Mother and The Very Hungry Caterpillar, both of which do not seem to have Ali-ified names so far. She’s also really into Happy Hanukkah, Corduroy and often sweetly requests for us to read it a dozen times in a row. Thank the Maccabees it’s short and it’s getting retired with the Christmas tree this week.
“POP” – Ali knows a few key words in her favorite books. I love when she says “POP” during The Very Hungry Caterpillar (“One Sunday morning the warm sun came up and–pop!– out of the egg came a tiny and very hungry caterpillar.”) She also recites the first two words of All the World “rock, stone” (“RAWk, stowwn”), says “ding, ding”, the first two words of Hello World: San Francisco, and says “beeeeeee!” at the appropriate time when we read Little Yellow Bee.
“Showwwer” – If Ali sees me taking a shower, she wants in on it. As someone who hates being wet and cold, standing around with wet hair while my daughter hogs the warm water is not my idea of a great time, so I try to make my portion of our shared showers quick. After I get out, Ali usually lingers in the water for a good 15 minutes or so. When I ask if she’s ready to get out, she usually replies with a cool “nope.”
“Hann!” – She likes to wash her hands. With soap. And then drink directly out of the faucet. And then splash water all over the place. And then scream when I tell her it’s enough and her hands are clean and it’s time to dry them with a towel.
“MmmMMMmmm” – She loves food, and makes this “mmmMMMmmm” noise while rubbing her belly when we talk about anything that could possibly be delicious. Especially “STEAK!”, “seaweee” (seaweed), “stashews” (pistachios, which she recently learned to crack and eat herself and which she prefers to the rhyming “cashews”), “bar” (oatmeal walnut bars), “yogurt!!!!!!”, “smoothie!”, “eaggs” (eggs), “broccOlyy”(broccoli), “puffs!”, “tangerrrn” (tangerine), “sushi!” (salmon nigiri to be exact), “tea!” (she thinks rooibos is the shit), “pasta” (bolognese sauce, which she usually eats without pasta), “mannng”(mango), “booberr” (blueberries), “berry!” (berries in general), and “nana” (bananas). I also accidentally introduced her to dark chocolate and that’s now officially a thing she’s v. into.
“Sitdoww” – Sit down. A refrain we repeat often during mealtime– and she parrots back– when she stands precariously in her high chair while giving us a smirk.
“Aaahhhhhh!” – Us: “Row, row, row, your boat, gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream. Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream. If you see an alligator, don’t forget to scream.” Ali, perfectly on cue every time: “Aahhhhhhhh!”
“Ho-ho” – Anything with a beard that could look like Santa. (We did not teach her this. Her nanny did not teach her this. We have no idea how she learned this.)
“Nommme” – She used to call the gnome in one of her books a “ho-ho,” and that was the first time I realized, wow, garden gnomes and Santas do look remarkably similar.
“Peace” and “Dank-yooo” (and sometimes “gracias”) – Often without even being asked. (#proudparentmoment)
“Mas” – “More” in Spanish. Her nanny speaks with her in Spanish, and this is the only word she never ever says in English.
“Ruhroh” – My mom taught Ali to say “ruhroh” instead of “uh oh,” Scooby Doo style and it stuck.
“A-ginn” – Again. Which she differentiates from “mas/more” surprisingly accurately.
“Shooezz” – She points them out in books. She also wears and walks in mine with impressive competence.
“Swing” and “Slide!” – She goes down even pretty scary big slides all by herself these days. It’s one of those things that makes her seem so grown up to me. My logic goes something like: Babies can’t go down big slides by themselves. Kids can. Therefore my baby is a kid. (And I’m not sure how I feel about that.)
“Bus” and “Strollller” – The obsessions are still going strong.
“Flowwwer” – Whenever given the opportunity to choose her own pants for the day, she chooses a pair with flowers on them. She’s also quick to point out flowers in real life and in books.
“Tyyype. Typpe!” – When she comes home from her day of play, Ali loves to burst into my room/office, sit on my lap, and “type” on my computer. She often makes my poor little Macbook do things I didn’t even know it was capable of doing.
“Boooo-ty!” – She smacks her booty while saying “booty” and it’s the best thing ever.
“Deedee” – She is smitten with her nanny share buddy, Finty. (And he with her.) She can say all of the sounds required to say “Finty” but nonetheless calls him “Deedee.” This is fine by me, because he still calls her “ass.” (“Alllllllll-ice,” we say.)
“Bubba” and “Shasta” – The first names (other than Mama) she pronounced perfectly were those of my parents’ dogs (which she calls “woof woofs,” by the way). She still hasn’t nailed “Grammy” and my mom is still pretending she’s not at all phased by this.
“Daaa-y” and “Mama” and “A-y” – That’s our little family.
Photos by the wonderful Samantha Brancato Photo.