Saturday, March 10, 2007

babbling conversation

Jen mentioned that Claire began babbling earlier this week, and at first it seemed merely a curiosity to me. Jen would prompt her with a repetitive sounds like "ba-ba-ba" and Claire would make that sound for awhile herself. For some reason she wouldn't do it for me though, and anyway, it seemed actually less interesting than some of the other sounds she has made over the months. Claire has been sometimes more and sometimes less vocal on and off over the months, and I remember being impressed by her saying "ag-ba" a couple months ago, although that was a "random" sound. Her "interactive" or social sounds and expressions have been her smiles and laughs.

This week has so busy for me at work that I usually return home after baby bedtime. So most of my interactions with Claire have been in the morning, when she hasn't been too chatty. And groggy midnight feeds of course, where I've been sternly instructed to not play with her lest she become riled up and not go back to sleep easily. So weekends have become especially treasured as extended times I get to spend with my daughter. And this morning was especially great. She awoke about 6:30 and got progressively louder until and I staggered into her room about 6:45, then settled down immediately after I picked her up.

Claire looked up at me and moved her mouth silently, which she has been doing for several weeks. I said "ba-ba-ba" to her and she said it back to me, which was a first that she responded to my saying it. Hey, this seemed fun, so I said "ma-ma-ma" and "da-da-da", both of which received appropriate responses. It came to me in a rush that I was having my first two-way conversation with my daughter, and it melted me with joy and pride. We then continued in the mellow morning routine of diaper, bottle, and her morning nap. Jen was "sleeping in" but I felt like telling someone about our "conversation" so I called my Mom. After catching up on pleasantries, I started to relate the little story about Claire "talking to me" but found myself choked up and unable to speak from emotion. This has happen to me several times before when telling stories about Claire. The events themselves are fairly commonplace, but as I begin to tell someone else, their significance hits me in light of Claire's early struggles as a preemie, and how all our expectations and hopes as new parents were challenged. I'll never forget the insensitive "bedside manner" that one of the neonatologist displayed to us while describing possible outcomes of Claires early, complicated arrival; and my indignant resolve to love our new daughter no matter what. All this to say that each of Claire's accomplishments has impressed me differently than I expect. All parents are pleased to see their children grow, but I often feel especially blessed as each passing milestone gives testimony to God's providence. Thank you for all of your prayers and encouragement.

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