Posted: September 3rd, 2006 | Author: | Filed under: Miss Kate | No Comments »

What’s that expression? Learn a new word, then use it three times and it’s yours. Something like that.

Anyway, Kate is either unclear on the concept of three or is just an overachiever (or both), because her newest word is baby, and I think she says it about 50 times a day.

Sometimes when she says it, it’s relevant. She’ll point to a baby in a stroller when we’re waiting in line at the coffee shop: “Baby!” Or she’ll see the cluster of aging birth announcements on our refrigerator: “Bay-bee!” Of course, we were all excited when she did this the first few times. “Did you hear that?” we’d call out to each other from another room. “What a smart girl!”

But since then Kate’s managed to discern the inner baby in nearly anything, animate or inanimate. At times she gets into this kind of baby channeling mode, where she repeats it over and over again while she’s focused on something like picking the kernels off of the corn cob I’ve given her to gnaw on. “Beh-bee, beh-bee, behhhh-beeee.” She kinda slurs it a bit, in a drunken way.

Or we’re driving along and she’s sitting in her car seat looking out as the highway flies by, and she’ll let one rip out of the blue, loudly and with defiance: “BEH-bee!” It can be startling.

Then there are the times when, despite myself, I’ve let the word slip out of my own lips “What a good baby I have,” I’ll coo as I’m changing her diaper, then I realize what I’ve done. She’ll look at me all wild-eyed like a junkie getting a fix: “Baby?” she’ll ask incredulously. Then with a happy languor she’ll relax and say it again, “Baaay-beeee.”

Yes, Kate. Baby.

In the past when she’s learned a new trick we’ve noticed she’s appeared to forget how to do other things. It pains me to admit this. (And Harvard, if you’re reading, this may well be how early genius manifests itself.) I asked Mark the other day if he’s heard her say Mama or Dada recently, words she’d mastered months ago. Sure enough, he couldn’t remember her having said either in quite some time.

I looked at her intently. “Mama! Mama!” She looked up at me from where she was sorting through a pile of DVD cases on the floor. “Mama!” I tried again brightly, encouraging her.

Nothing. No response. No glimmer of recognition.

She was probably thinking, “What is up with her? Doesn’t she remember that my name is Kate?”

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