"Look at me. I look so pretty."
"I want a drink of water."
"Mommy, buckle your seat belt please."
"Mmmmm. That's yummy in my mouth."
"Daddy you are sitting next to me."
All those phrases were muttered yesterday by my just-turned-two little lady. Each time I drop her off in the nursery at church, the teachers hand her back and say, "Woah. I've never heard a two-year-old talk that way."
(They also say, "Woah. She's busy.)
(I'll get to that in a minute.)
We were at Yoder's (An Amish country market near our house) yesterday all sitting outside eating the sandwiches we had just ordered from the deli. Hannah was rocking in a chair next to an older gentleman who had a small scab on his face.
"You have a boo boo," she told him.
Well that isn't embarrassing at all.
And it isn't just talking. She remembers concepts and details and then gives that information back to you.
The other day, she came out wearing a yellow pair of sunglasses. I had no idea where she got them from. They didn't look anything like any pair we had. I asked her where she got them. "These are from Jonah, Mommy." She said.
I racked my brain to even remember if we knew a Jonah that had been in our house, and quickly realized she was talking about our friends John and Becky and their two sons: Joshua and Jonah. I texted Becky with a picture of Hannah in the glasses, and Becky replied that indeed, they were Jonah's glasses, but she hadn't even seen them out at our house.
And Hannah could tell me that?
Two months later?
You can have long conversations with her. And we do, just to entertain ourselves. She can speak in near-paragraphs, and answer questions about her day and what her siblings were doing and what she ate and how she behaved and how she slept.
Speaking of my friend Becky, she's a pretty fair judge, and she told me unequivocally, that she had never met a two-year-old on her level.
Of course, it isn't just her speaking that is different. Hannah does things that my older three children wouldn't have even dreamed of.
Let us, for a moment, go back to July, when I found the following on my counter:
Oh yes dear people, that is JB's best steak knife -- the one that will cut you if you even look at it funny.
I'm not joking when I say that Hannah gets into more predicaments in a week than my other three kiddos got into during their entire childhood -- combined!
But I'm straying for my point.
The reason I write this post is that when people meet Hannah and hear how much she talks and how curious she is and all the things she is doing and getting into and the amount of reason she can demonstrate, they begin to tell me why they think this is the case.
Did I talk more to her? Read more to her? Discipline her differently?
Why did her older sister Abigail, barely utter a word before two and a half while Hannah is nearly reciting the dictionary.
Is the fact that she is the youngest the reason that she is completely ROCKED OUR WORLD in ways we had never dreamed of.
Ladies and gentleman of the jury, I argue that the reason Hannah is completely different than her older three siblings is because I .... did nothing different at all.
Researchers will tell you that if you read more to your children they have a better vocabulary.
If I'm being honest, I probably read the least to Hannah of all four of my children.
She is number four after all.
Researchers will tell you that if you talk to them while in the womb they will develop quicker.
I worried greatly about this while pregnant. My horrific pregnancy sickness and debilitating depression during Hannah's entire time in my womb meant I spent very little time "spending any time" with her during those months she was incubating.
And yet, here she is.
Counting into the teens and telling us full-on-stories.
So here is my point.
Kids need very little.
So much of who they are was written in their DNA long before you even dreamed of praying that they'd come into your family.
Psalm 139:13 says: "For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother's womb."
(Or in our little IVF-baby's case -- knit her together in a lab in Minnesota.)
(Again. Not part of the main idea of this blog.)
As a mother of four young children, I have decided that the only things I need to do every day for my children is written on the list below:
1. Give physical and emotional love
2. Teach them about the Lord
3. Be present
That's it. Sure it's nice if I can read to them. And sleep is very important in our house. We try to give them good food to eat. We like to play games with them and give them access to the outdoors. My goal is to brush all of their teeth two times a day. And baths are instituted whenever I think they are really stinky.
But in the end ... how much does it matter?
In the end, I'd like to argue that all those other things we read books about and visit mommy blogs for and scour Pinterest for really don't amount to much.
In other words: let's not sweat the small stuff. If you don't do any crafts this week and forget to read any books and don't make it outside half as many times as you should but you give them hugs and kisses and verbally tell them of your love and pray with them and for them and simply exist near them ... that is enough!
Hannah definitely thinks so.