You know those stories parents love to tell their grown children? “We knew you were going to be a teacher when you were two years old and lined up all your stuffed animals to teach them the ABCs.”
Such claims always seemed a little suspect to me — selective memories sifted out after the fact from many, many others that were conveniently forgotten. Except, everything changes when you have a kid of your own. Now, of course, I totally get it.
At just one year old Flynn is already flashing us very clear hints as to what his future fully developed personality will look like. He’s silly. He’s kind. Here’s one other prediction: he’s going to be a perfectionist.
It seems that most babies learn some early words like mama and dada, and then work on expressing their needs. Maybe they start saying baba to ask for a bottle, for instance. Well, not our son. He says mama, dada, bye-bye, no, and tickle. (Don’t ask about tickle. We have no idea.) We’ve been trying to teach him some other words that he might find a little more useful: up, down, food, more. But he has no interest. The only thing he has interest in is his dog, Abbey. That’s the other word he knows. He chases her around the house muttering her name. Every time we return to the house from being away he runs to the door, muttering her name. Sometimes he falls asleep at night muttering her name.
Yes, he’s a little obsessed with Abbey.
The problem is that he’s had some trouble saying Abbey. At first it was Baaboo. It sounded so little like Abbey that initially Andy didn’t believe that’s what Flynn meant. But soon it became clear that it was. After a few weeks it graduated to Aaaboo. For months after that he would try to improve further. He would say, “Aaaboo.” I would correct him, with emphasis: “Aaaaaa-BEEE.” Then he would try to copy me: “Aaaaaa… [dramatic pause] …baaboo.” No, not quite.
Today, unprovoked, Flynn said the dog’s name right. Abbey. He knew it too, and he was so proud. He looked up at me and his nanny for confirmation. When we smiled and clapped and cheered for him, he ran off to say it to his dad. Abbey, Abbey, Abbey, he told his dad. Then back to chasing Abbey around the house. Abbey, Abbey, Abbey, Abbey, Abbey.
Perfecting the dog’s name doesn’t seem like the most efficient use of Flynn’s baby brainpower if you ask me. He already had a word for her. We understood it. It worked just fine. Personally, I would have moved on to figuring out new and different words that could have helped me ask for another toy or a better snack. But not Flynn. Quality over quantity from our little perfectionist.