Lexi uses several words and almost-words in the proper context: mama, dada, yeah, no, des (for yes), and moo or boo (for the sound a cow makes). For months now she has been fascinated with shoes. Her shoes, your shoes, anybody’s shoes, they are all great play things to her. And for months she has called them shhhhs.

But today, as she sat at my feet, trying to give me my sandals, I heard clear as day “shoe”. You won’t believe how ecstatically I reacted; I hardly believe it myself. “YES!!! SHOE!!! GOOD GIRL!!!” I asked her to say it again. She looked at me and said shhh. I said shoe. She said shhh. I said shoe. She said shhh. I said, “We’re calling your Daddy so you can say it for him.” I dialed. She looked at me. Elian answered. I explained the previous linguistic breakthrough. I put him on speaker phone. I asked Lexi what she was holding. She said shhh. I sighed. I tried three more times. She was more interested in the phone I was holding. I hung up.

Then she said shoe with perfect diction. I re-celebrated as if she had once been completely mute and had uttered her first sound since birth. She said shhh.

A few hours later Elian came home and asked her what was on his feet. She was completely confused.

Then her great-grandpa came over to play before dinner. As is his custom, he got ready to take her for a walk. I sat her down to put her shoes on, and Lexi’s little angel voice said, “Shoe.”

Then she crapped.


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