As a 2 year old Baby J is not technically a baby anymore but that’s beside the point. He sure still looks like one. While he certainly does plenty of baby things, he happens to talk like a much older child. In fact, it’s been interesting to (literally) hear the world, his world, from his perspective. The other day I sat down with him to put on his shoes. W was already headed out the back door. “Bubba!” J called to him. “Stay. in the. back. yard!” He called out emphatically. It made me and my husband laugh. Clearly that is something that he hears a lot. Enough, in fact, to redirect his older brother!
He says all kinds of things that make us laugh, as most two year olds do. For example, when he drove his ride-on toy into the kitchen and announced “I’m doing my best!” He had been listening to W talk about his new preschool motto of “being the best me that I can be,” and in that moment he was too! We have come to realize that J is truly listening to everything.
That got me thinking about what else he might be hearing and how it might sound to him. What a great assessment tool for us as parents, albeit often very humbling: our little parrots sending our words right back to us complete with intonation and inflection. They are like a walking report card constantly assessing our parenting skills and reporting them accordingly. Are we being kind just as we expect our kids to be? Are our words respectful? Firm for sure but do they convey respect? What mannerisms do we have that pop up in that parroted speech? And are our children really listening to what we say?
It turns out Baby J is! He reminds me of how magical (and challenging) a 2 year old can be. I can literally see his wheels turning, and I never know what is going to come out of his mouth. What I do know for sure is that he can make all of us laugh (and check ourselves!), and although it often seems like his only purpose in this world is to create chaos and messes, he really is putting it all together step by step and day by day. I’m so grateful to stand by and watch.
Find the joy,
Jessica McCauley, M.Ed. is a parenting coach/consultant. She draws on her background as a Montessori educator and Child Life Specialist to help families navigate the challenges of the early childhood years. Contact Jessica at http://smallhandsbigsteps.com/contact/ for more information or to schedule a consultation.