Every person thinks that their child is the smartest, cutest child out there. Well, I have to tell you that all of you are wrong. Because Julia is the smartest, cutest kid in the entire planet. And I have two stories to offer as (completely objective) proof. They both involve upon growling.
1) The daycare kids have taught Julia how to growl. Her little growl is rough and menacing and high-pitched, like a tiger cub or a wolf puppy. Some vicious infant animal. Paired as it is with her sparkling eyes and huge smile (which she thinks is "baring her teeth" like the older kids who taught her) the result is completely charming. And, of course, we had to have her demonstrate her new skill to Grandma and Grandpa. Grandma and Grandpa were appropriately charmed.
Later, when Grandpa and I took Julia to the store for the first of many part runs, Grandpa started working with Julia with saying "Grandpa". "Grandpa, Grrrandpa, Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrandpa" he said to her slowly, turning the first sound into the growl that she has so perfected. Immediately she stopped smiling at him and started thinking hard. "That's right," he told her, "you think about it and get back with me."
Later that night, when Julia had been fed and changed and was ready for bed, Kristin and Grandma brought Julia over to say goodnight to me and Grandpa. Grandpa wasn't really paying attention as he was focused on a recalcitrant coupling. Julia was not best pleased at Grandpa's lack of attention. "Grandpa!" she cried at him. We all looked at her. "Grandpa," she said again. "Hi!" And we all burst into congratulations and praise.
In truth, her word didn't sound as clear as I have just presented it. It was a growl, ended with her kissy sound, which sounds a little like "pa". But there was no doubt that "grrrrrrrrpa" was her very clear attempt to vocalize the word grandpa and that that word was very clearly directed toward her grandpa who was not paying as much attention to her as she thought he should.
So, my question. Why can she say Grandpa, but she won't even TRY to say Mama?
2) Last night it was just Julia and I, and I was trying to keep her up a bit past her bedtime to give Kristin more time to get home and see her. After Julia was dined and cleaned and changed and pajamaed we sat in the big club chair with her gigantic (it's longer than she is) "Sparkle Fun Book". We were having a great time, turning the big cardboard pages and trying to peel the foil off the pictures, when we came to a page with animals all over it. I started pointing to the animals and making animal sounds. I didn't Julia was paying much attention to me as she was poking at a piece of silver foil. But when I touched the tiger and growled she stopped fingering the foil. I touched the tiger again while growling. After a moment she slapped her hand over the tiger and she growled. Then she did it again. I praised her and touched the picture of the snake. I hissed as I touched it. Julia looked at me closely as I hissed. Then she touched the snake and blew air out through nearly-closed lips. It sounded more like an "f" than an "s", but it was a good estimation of the sound.
She's growing and expanding so fast. We can see the intellectual connections being made behind her eyes. It is a joy to accompany her on this journey.