When I picked Lei up from school today, her teacher remarked that "Leighton is unusually verbal". Of course she is. She's my kid and I was born a smelly English major.
LONG SIDEBAR: My friend Natalie and I majored in English literature as undergrads. During one raucous Thursday evening of Must See TV at our sorority house, (whatever - you are not surprised), we were enjoying (or not enjoying) the Friends episode where Phoebe sings of a particular "smelly cat".
Natalie, who was madly pecking away at some assignment on her word processor (yes kids ... such a semi-useless, 5 megabyte waste of money did exist, much like the 89 bit graphing calculator I also had) looked up thoughtfully and launched a diatribe about "Who was the smelly cat, really?" and "Who's to blame for its plight?" In the midst of the journey to uncover some tragic hero situation in this particular episode of a sitcom that revolved largely around Jennifer Anniston's hairdo, someone piped in with a "Shut up, smelly english major."
To this day, whenever anyone is overly analytical and inclined to discuss something of a literary nature to death, they are being "smelly" or engaging in "smelly" behavior. Incidentally, Natalie and I consider this a compliment.
So back to my unusually verbal offspring - I know that she delivers more oral content that her peers and has done so for some time. That's her thing. And, it was mine too.
However, her level of comprehension is better than mine was as a wee pup. It's like she's already got a perspective of the world that I didn't have until much later. It's eerie. She knows things and really understands what she's saying when she talks.
I buckled her in the car and squared Mairin away. After the requisite amount of silence (Lei is quiet for a bit once I pick her up like she needs to decompress after a long half-day at the office) I ask her what she wants for dinner. She respectfully requests a Shamrock shake because that's what we gave her after the recent tooth incident.
I denied her and offered alternatives: Annie's shells and cheese? Chicken? Pork tenderloin? Risotto? She didn't repond to any of these, but finally said, "Tilapia and pineapple. And milk."
I can only assume that this is totally normal for a precocious girl on the verge of two.
I gave the thumbs up on her menu selection and she was pleased ... for a moment. Then, "The music. I don't like this." Awesome. I figured we were taking the Annie route home AGAIN.
SIDEBAR: We've been listening to the Annie soundtrack in the car for months now. It's a hard knock life for Ryan and me. Our ears bleed when anyone even utters the word "tomorrow". It's dire.
But today, I was wrong. "No. No Annie. I don't want it. I don't want to hear it. No Annie, please."
What the hell? I thought. "What music do you want?" I asked. Then silence - much like the dinner discussion. I offered Music Together CDs, Disney radio on XM, whatever pop foolishness was on the mix. Nothing was pleasing this kid.
Finally, she told me that she preferred to listen to Rihanna at this very moment. It took me a second to figure out what she was saying because it sounded a bit like "REE-NAH-NAH" coming from her tiny mouth, but that was definitely it.
REE-NAH-NAH that's her name. REE-NAH-NAH that's her name.
And, despite the fact that she's a poppy R&B chick with four chart-toppers in the play list rotation on any given station at any given time, NOBODY played any Rihanna on our way home. I had to explain to my super verbal peanut that I don't control the radio station and that I had neither a Rihanna CD nor tune on the iPod for her enjoyment on the world's longest ride home ... EVER.