Thursday, May 19, 2011

On communication

Last night I went into Chloë's room to put her blanket back on her, as I often do, and discovered that she was lying right next to the edge of the bed, having moved the blanket barricade we erected when the bed rail turned out to be a bad idea. (She loved leaning on it and climbing over it and basically daring it to turn on her. We figured we'd better move it before it did.) I didn't want to risk waking her by moving her, so I fetched a spare pillow and put it down on the floor beneath her, just in case. In the morning when she fetched me and we returned to her room, she pointed to the pillow and said, "Bloody nose."

I examined the pillow. It was clean. I examined her nose. It was also clean. "You had a bloody nose?" I said, doubtfully. (Note: no one ever told me that so much of my conversation with my toddler would consist of repeating what I think she's just said.) She nodded. Then she said, "Mama help."

This didn't seem to be a request for assistance, rather a report on past events. (Note: conversing with my toddler has also taught me that way more of communication than I thought is nonverbal.) I said, to be sure, "I helped you with the nosebleed?"

She nodded. "I didn't help you with a nosebleed last night," I told her. "Are you thinking of some other night?" She wasn't too sure about that one, but I was satisfied in my own mind...except that I don't know what connection the pillow had to a memory of a nosebleed. In any case, I moved the pillow, and she was happy (until the next time she found some miniscule crumb or thread on the floor, which she always picks up and hands to one of us with a concerned expression, as if to say, "Get your housecleaning act together, people").

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