Last week, KayTar really wanted us to open her ladybug kite. We've had it for a while, but never taken it out for flying. In this part of the world, there are really only three weeks in the calendar year that are appropriate for kite flying. They generally happen in March, during the split second that resembles a typical spring elsewhere. We missed the window and now the kite stares at KayTar longingly, day after day, and KayTar fully believes that if we opened it in the house, the kite would unfurl its wings and soar around our ceiling. That is what kites do, after all. We tried explaining that it doesn't really work that way, kites have to be flown outdoors with a nice wind blowing, which we didn't have, and that the weather outside was really too warm for humans in any case. After the 500th time we had this conversation, it was clear we were at an impasse and finally had to hide the kite altogether.
She came up to me and said, "I'm finking of something....it's a diamond and it has a ladybug on it and it has a string and a bow and it goes FLY! FLY! FLYING! What is it?" I was instantly impressed, because that is pretty well thought out, knowledgeable speech even for a typical kid, I think...but for KayTar, whose entirely vocabulary consisted of clever little scripts a month or two ago, it was astounding. I almost posted about it here, but then I reconsidered. It was probably just a script I hadn't heard yet, something new she had memorized off of TV.
Then yesterday at nap time, there was a garbage truck making QUITE the ruckus outside. It was idling very loudly, the machinery was making growling sounds, and then they decided to honk the big horn repeatedly. KayTar called me in and said, "Do you hear that? Do you hear that BIIIIG bus?" And I told her, "No, its a garbage truck. It came to take everyone's garbage away." It continued to make noise and she said, "Do you hear that? I'm hearing something that says (idling noises) and (growling noises) and BEEP BEEP BEEP, and it takes the garbage away. What is it?" So I said, "A garbage truck!" And she said, "Yes! That's correct!"
I think that maybe, just maybe, she really is coming up with these little word games all on her own and it seems nearly impossible to me, this huge leap in her understanding and language usage. Skills always come to her in big bursts, so that she is nearly unrecognizable from her former self. I remember it now, I can still see the shadow of the KayTar-that-was right next to the KayTar-that-is...the awkward rote "conversations" we always had with her, the scripts she used to cover the gaps in her language and in her understanding...but in a few weeks, that shadow will dissipate and it will seem like it has always been this new way, that she has always been a kid fully capable of give and take conversations, of witty and intelligent statements, of making us laugh with her spontaneous observations about the world. The only proof of days gone by will be the words recorded in this place, the road map of our journey together, the mile markers stretching back as far as the eye can see, always reminding us that there was a time and place before this one, and that we had to go over mountains and through valleys to get to this solid and even ground.