The title of this post probably elicits an image of a Hallmark or Johnson&Johnson commercial: the new mother nose to nose with her baby, making soft cooing sounds, in a language only a mother and child understand... close but not exactly what I mean. No, I'm talking about the way we take the magic of rudimentary communication with our 'toddlers' for granted every day before they learn to speak.
Before I had a child of my own, I would contemplate how amazing it was that my Weimaraner (dog) 'CoCo' had learned a number of commands in English, yet it was a shot in the dark figuring out what her barks and actions meant past her nudging her food bowl to let me know she's hungry. Who is the smart one us or dogs; dogs understands some English and we humans don't understand any "dog talk", if you watch the TV show COPS the jury could still be out on that one, but I digress.
My daughter is 21 months old and is proficient with the typical words used by children her age, but the real magic is how many things she can get her Mom and I to do without being able to verbalize what she wants. I don't have any boys, but girls can be pretty "sassy" at this age. Not to worry though, I hear they grow out of it in their twenties... I hope? If the door isn't locked on my office while I'm working my daughter will march in, take me by the hand and lead me like a 'child' to what ever suits her fancy at that moment, and "no" is not an option to her. Who knew that the simple act of pointing could be so affective? If only I could go into a meeting with clients and 'point' to a contract and then magically we were on the same page, and I leave with signed documents (I can dream).
My daughter let me know it was time to potty train her by going to her diaper bag and bringing me her changing pad and wipes when she wanted her diaper changed, if that doesn't say "keep up with the program Daddy" I don't know what does. When sign language isn't working, and she grows tired of my perplexed look she has been known to slide a bar stool around the kitchen and climb up to get what she wants...and I thought my dog CoCo was smart.
Our children are receiving and processing an alarming amount of information the entire time they are awake (heavens knows what they are learning while they sleep), if we are aware of it or not. If you say or do it in view of your children it's just a matter of time before you will see them doing it. The sad thing is that when you as parents grow to a ripe old age and lose your capacity to speak, pretty much trading places with where your kids are at this age, they won't have a clue as to what you are trying to say. Oh well, enjoy it while it last because there will be no misunderstanding when my daughter becomes a teenager and "rolls" me for money to go to the mall.
So next time your toddler gets you to do something non verbally take the time to marvel in their 'genius' to get their point across without speaking.