As I was making breakfast this morning, I heard my babies take direction from Dora and repeat after her in clear English, "Bridge. Tree. Tall Mountain."
My heart twinged a little bit. Nothing documents the extremely fast passage of time like a baby growing up. It's bittersweet for me. Their baby babble is disappearing. Soon, they'll be able to express themselves clearly at all times. The made-up phrases that only I can understand will vanish, replaced by the correct words for those desires.
They're putting words together now, in simple sentences - a rudimentary English, with no verbs. They understand possession - me, mine, yours, Dulce's, baby's, mama's. They delight in differentiating.
Last night, when my husband came home from work, they spent ten minutes telling us whose belt was whose.
"Dada belt!" they shouted, pointing at his belt. Then they raced over to me. "Mama belt!" Over and over again.
Each developmental step is as cute as the last, but I cannot help but feel a fleeting sadness over phrases long-gone extinct. And I will forget them, just as my babies already have forgotten them.
"Yook!" they used to say, pointing at anything and everything. "Yook, yook!"
We haven't heard "yook" in months. In fact, I would have forgotten they ever used it, much less dozens of times a day, had my step-father not asked me why they weren't saying it anymore.
As word approximations are used, then discarded for better, more correct words, the old attempts at verbalization get lost. A few weeks ago, my babies would wiggle their tongues and make unintelligible sounds, playing at talking. They hardly do that anymore. If their tongues garble their sentences, they stop. I see them concentrating, willing their mouths to speak the correct words, the words they see in their minds. They pause and slowly try again, pronouncing each syllable with intent.
How blessed we are to see such quick and marked growth, to see the making of a person, to shape that making day by day. How hard the babies work to grow, to catch up with their parents. If I used even half as much of my brain as they do daily, how much I could achieve. Babies never rest, they are always learning.
It's us, the parents, still hanging on to phases past. Still hanging on to our babies.