Stella says.

“Slowly… slowly… very… slowly… creeps the… garden… snail!” She didn’t know I was watching her as she crept her fingers up her arm in snail-like fashion, the way I do when I sing this song to her. With extreme concentration and focus, and a dramatic pause preceding each word, she managed to sing this line perfectly. She was so proud that she lit up like a Christmas tree.

“Hello, this is Stella.” We were in the bathroom when she picked up one of her whale cups–bath toys that I often hold to my ear during Stella’s bathtime (or whenever I need to make a deep-sea call) and say, “Calling all whales!” She put it to her ear and said, clear as day, “Hello, this is Stella.”  Very professional.

Goodbye “wawa,” hello “waterrrrr.” A while back she got better at making precise “T” sounds. And yesterday, Stella suddenly, and seemingly out of the blue, mastered the hard “R” sound. Let me tell you, she’s flaunting it! She holds those R’s about as long as I used to hold up my arm after hitting a three-pointer (about a half hour). Half the time, I can’t enunciate as well as her. Sometimes, she sounds downright Irish. Grandpa Martin would be proud.

“Wash your hands!” She says this whenever the bathroom sink catches her eye. We have to be more careful to keep that door closed these days, because the risk of scalding and perilous falling have skyrocketed. She’ll climb up onto the toilet, stand up, inch her way to the edge, lean way over, and wind up with her belly against the sink and only her toes gripping the outer edge of the toilet. Then she turns on the faucet to play in the water–it’s our Disneyworld.

As with pronunciation, she is a role model for me in hand washing. Thanks, Stella for making me a more hygienic and intelligible person. You are wonderful and I’m hanging on to your every word.