When my son was eighteen months, maybe two years old, he didn’t talk much. I mean, no two year old does, really, but he had an especially limited vocabulary.
Yet, one word he did know was “cookie,” though he didn’t quite say it that way. To him, for months on end, “cookie” was “kee-koo.” He’d walk up to you with the sweetest expression and would quietly ask for “kee-koo?” It always had the inflection of a question, even when it wasn’t used in that capacity.
When he attended speech therapy, I even asked the therapist if we could hold off working on “cookie” for a while because I knew that some day, sooner or later, the baby-magic of “kee-koo” would be a thing of the past. And, let’s be honest, we mothers sometimes selfishly want to hold onto those precious baby moments just a little while longer. (The therapist also allowed “ba-dockedy” to stay…….his word for “broccoli.”)
Now that he is six and far past his “kee-koo” days, I find myself watching his sister, who has never met a storybook she didn’t like (coloring books with pages that can be torn out are a different matter). She is my “baby bookworm,” and she loves a story or seven every time she takes a nap or goes to bed. She walks up to you with these big, baby blue, puppy dog eyes, and asks, in her little toddler voice, “Doe-wee?” (Of course, if you don’t oblige her within 2.4 seconds, she yells “DOE-WEE!” and throws the book at you, so it’s not 100% innocent.)
Much like “kee-koo” before it, my heart melts at “doe-wee,” and I know there will be a day when, not only “doe-wee” will end, but she will no longer want her mama to read her a story.
These moments are all too fleeting–downy baby fuzz, chubby little diapered legs, babbles and coos, uncertain steps, first words and foods and experiences. I’d like to be able to hold my babies and keep them little forever, but I know I can’t. No one can. All I can do is relish “doe-wees” and take the chances I can to appreciate them and have them while I still can, while they let me.
(NOTE: Grandparents took these photographs. I cannot claim credit for the pictures, though I take credit for my cute kiddos in them!)