When Grace was very young, she barely spoke. In fact, it was her silence — along with some gross motor deficits — that landed her in early intervention services. I thought of this as we drove home from ballet class last Thursday. I realized that she had spoken for fifteen minutes without pausing once. Not once.
Currently, her favorite phrase is, "You won't believe your mind." As in, "Daddy, do you want me to tell you a joke? It's so funny you won't believe your mind."
"Okay," I said when she asked me this the other day.
"Why did a tree go in the water?"
"I don't know," I said, excited that she was about to tell her very first joke. Perhaps she learned it from one of her buddies in preschool or during a play date. The setup was good, too — what would motivate a tree to uproot itself and wander into a body of water? I was eager for the payoff. "Why?"
She stared at me in the rear-view mirror, a puzzled look on her face. "A tree went in the water," she said in a matter-of-fact tone.
That's when I got it. "Oh," I said. "Because trees don't go into water."
“Yeah!" she said. "Isn't that funny, Daddy?"
"It's great, honey."
She also talks when she has nothing at all to say. "Daddy, know what?" ("Know what" is another very popular phrase). "What, honey?" "Um," she says. "Ahhh..." Her eyes scan the room for anything to talk about. She identifies and rejects item after item until she finally lands: "Do you know where Mommy is?"
Lastly, she talks about her blags. No, that's not a typo. She was getting dressed one morning when she asked, "Do you know about my blag?"
"Your what, honey?" I asked.
"What's a blag?" I asked.
"A blag is when you go in your bed and you close your eyes and you go somewhere else."
I realized she was talking about dreaming, but for some reason her description really creeped me out. "Oh," I said. "That's called a dream, honey."
"No," she corrected me. "I told you it's a BLAG."
"Fine, it's a blag," I said. "Tell me about your blag."
"There was a witch in our house and she was trying to get Night-Night Cow and I didn't let her."
"That sounds exciting," I told her.
"She was a good witch, though," she said.
"Oh good, sweetie."
She then launched into a stream-of-consciousness soliloquy that touched on our dog's blags, her brother's gender, who my friends are at my office, if I have blags at work, and what we'll have for dinner. This is why, when people ask me what I like to do for fun, I say, "Go to my room, turn off the TV, and just exist quietly for a while."
Chatty Kathy, we call her. Who knew?