When Mazzy was a baby, she talked really early. (I know, I know, I compare everything Harlow does to Mazzy. Is that bad?) Mazzy talked so early that I couldn't even write about it on my blog because the one time I mentioned it, people with babies the same age got all freaked out that something was wrong with their less verbal offspring.
The response made me keep quiet about Mazzy's quickly developing vocabulary so I don't even have a real record of it on the blog, but I distinctly remember reading that by the end of the first year, most babies can say three to five words and thinking, "HOLY CRAP! Mazzy has over a hundred!"
I used to joke around about Mazzy being a genius, but if you want to know the truth, I totally believed it.
Now, I realize everyone catches up.
It's a slow fall back down to reality when you realize your two-year-old might not build the next Facebook, like you always imagined.
Harlow, on the other hand, at 14 months, speaks only one word.
That's another difference. Mazzy spoke every word under the sun before she humored me with her first "Mama". "Hi" was Mazzy's first word, "Boo" was her second and "Dada" was her third. Then I got shafted by "ball", "banana" and "iPad". If I remember correctly, Mazzy started stringing words together like "Bye Bye Daddy" and "I love you Yaya" (that's her Aunt) before she uttered her first proper "Mama".
Harlow says "Mama" until she is blue in the face.
"Mama. Mama. Mama. Mama. MAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Please imagine that last "Mama" is said in a screech so damaging to the ears, you think there might have been a car accident outside.
There's probably a "Mama" that follows the screeching but only dogs can hear it.
Sadly, since "mama" is Harlow's only word, she uses it for everyone. Me, Daddy, Mazzy and basically anyone with the ability to pick her up so her precious feet never have to touch the ground. GOD FORBID.
In lieu of words, Harlow has orchestrated a series of grunts, shrieks and vigorous head shakes.
I have never met anyone who can say "no" quite as clearly as Harlow, without ever saying a word. She doesn't just shake her head, she shakes her whole body in adamant defiance. Harlow's so good at saying "no", I should probably use her as my muse for contract negotiations.
"We'd like you to write a post for us in exchange for this can of corn."
"Alright two cans of corn."
Shakes head harder.
"Alright, you can have free canned vegetables for a month."
"Free canned vegetables for a year."
"Free canned vegetables for life."
"Okay, fine. We'll pay you."
This is actually exactly how Harlow operates. She's got me and her dad wrapped around her little finger. She'll point in the general direction of the kitchen counter, which is my cue to wander over there to figure out what she wants.
I'll pick up the bananas.
I'll pick up the plastic container of tomatoes.
Shakes head harder.
I'll pick up the loaf of bread.
I'll pick up the cup of water.
I'll pick up the pad of paper.
Uh-oh. The only things left are a steaming hot cup of coffee, a bottle of wine and a kitchen knife.
Just for fun, I'll pick up the cup of coffee.
Harlow's eyes will go wide and she'll reach for that thing like it's the key to Baby Kingdom.
"Sorry, Harlow. I can't give this to you."
I don't know how she's determined that a cup of coffee is the only thing that will satisfy her appetite. I've tried to trick her with a mug full of milk, and she gives a head shake which translates roughly to "Mom, do you think I'm stupid???"
I guess that's the point. Harlow can't say any words just yet but it's clear that it's not because she's stupid. She's just as opinionated as Mazzy at that age, if not more so. And, if I'm honest, shrieking is a lot more effective than asking for the kitchen knife with words.
Harlow's shrieks have convinced us to let her keep the newborn pacifier, instead of switching to the one she's supposed to use to accommodate her brand new teeth.
Harlow's shrieks have convinced us to put off transitioning from a bottle to a cup.
Harlow's shrieks have convinced us to let her wander around the apartment chomping on a bagel instead of forcing her to eat at the table like everybody else.
Hmmmm. Maybe Harlow is the one who's going to create the next Facebook.
Watch out, Mazzy. There's a new genius in town.