I picked Addie up from daycare yesterday afternoon and, as usual, she insisted on playing on the playground on the way out. As soon as we stepped out of the building she ran over to the play structure and climbed up the steps. I put down her bag and walked over to the playground and she gave me her evil little smile. You know, the “I’m not getting down from this play structure for two hours and I know it will drive you crazy” smile. Then, she said her name.
Whoa, hold up! She said her name? Oh yes she did. “Ahdeee. Ahdeee. Ahdeee!” She said it over and over and over again. All the while smiling the biggest smile you’ve ever seen and dancing around. It was pretty much the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen in my life. Girl just turned 16 months old. She rocks.
About five minutes later I managed to disengage her from the play structure. (Seriously, check out The No Cry Discipline Solution – it’s amazing.) As I strapped her into her carseat she chanted her name again. And throughout the afternoon yesterday she kept saying it as well. She’s super excited about it.
I think about what it must take to learn one’s name. She hears it enough, so that’s not a problem. And pretty early on she would respond to it, either by turning her head or, later, coming over when I called her name. The process of creating a sense of self must begin, really, at the beginning. But it’s another step to realize that you can say your name – that you can refer to yourself. That you have identity not just in response to other people, but in response to yourself as well. And that your identity is, in fact, separate from the identities of others, like your parents and other loved ones.
Which is really all to say, my little girl is growing up. Sigh.