How My Toddler Reminds Me She's Always Listening

My daughter is on the early side of the toddler listening spectrum, but we're starting to see glimpses of the light at the end of the tunnel. Most of the time I'm pretty sure that even if she is listening to the words I'm saying, she's not really understanding everything. Then again, there are moments that make me realize my toddler actually is listening to me, and not only listening but understanding. Whoa. Not only does that feel nothing short of amazing (at times) but it gives me hope that one day she'll be able to understand when I ask her to pick up the 100 plastic bags she just deposited across the kitchen floor.

I remarked to my husband the other day that I couldn't believe how much fun it was to watch our daughter start to listen and learn things so quickly. It's also majorly exhausting to watch her not listen when I ask her to clean up major toddler messes or respond when I try to explain why we have to get in the carseat. But overall, it's so rewarding when I can tell she's really listening, even if those moments are still a little few and far between.

I've always been a huge fan of tiny babies, and the idea of toddlers has always sort of freaked me out. However, the moments when I can tell she's really listening to me make being the mom of a toddler one of the most fun things I've ever experienced.

She Shushes Her Baby Dolls Unprompted

My daughter just started showing an interest in baby dolls and when I asked her if the baby needed a nap, she immediately started whispering, "Shush shush shush." Clearly all that newborn (and totally failed) shushing and patting made an impact on her.

She Calls My Phone The "No No No"

I had no idea I had admonished my daughter not to pick up my phone quite so often, but when she saw it the other day she immediately said, "No no no." When my niece was the same age, she would hear a phone alert or vibration and say, "Uh oh!" so at least I'm not the only mom taking the "no screen time" approach too seriously.

She Uses The Fictitious Animal Sounds I Tell Her

I wish someone would get toddler book authors to stop using animals that don't make any sounds in books that have no words. What am I supposed to say about a hippo? I have no idea what sound a hippo makes. Or a giraffe? Yeah, I'm drawing a blank on what a giraffe sounds like.

I realized the other day that I was starting to make up animal sounds as I was reading the same book-with-no-words for the 80th time that day. My daughter saw a bunny in a store display for Easter and exclaimed, "Hop hop!" Yes, darling daughter, I told you that a bunny says "hop hop," and now I can't take it back. #momfail

She Stops When I Ask Her To (Occasionally)

A friend of mine recently broke out a really serious mom voice when she wanted her daughter to stop doing something dangerous. Even I jumped when I heard her, in fact.

My mom voice isn't nearly as impressive, but sometimes my daughter really does listen when I ask her sternly to stop doing something, usually to step away from the edge of the playground precipice or back up from touching something hot. Then she repeats, "hot, hot" until I think my head is going to explode.

She Understands New Signs Fast

We started using the sign for "all done" relatively early with my daughter, and she picked it up before she turned 1. Then, well, we kind of forgot about signs until recently, when I had the bright idea of introducing the sign for "more" during lunch one day. Five minutes later she was signing for "more" blueberries like her life depended on it, and no amount of signing "all done" back at her would calm her down.

She Can Follow Directions (Sometimes)

She's still on the young side for understanding real directions, but occasionally she'll hear me ask her to bring me her shoes so I can put them on and she heads to the right place to find them. She still doesn't come back with a matching pair, or even more than one shoe, but hope is in sight.

When She Talks To Herself In Bed

It's been so fun lately to listen to my daughter chat herself to sleep, repeating the words she learned during the day. These moments have essentially become a way I can tell what she has really listened to during the day. She'll repeat new sounds or words and try out louder and softer ways of saying them. It makes me so excited for when she can string more than two sounds together and we can start communicating in complete sentences.

She Throws A Tantrum

Because she just understood I said, "No, we can't go outside right now." I'm so glad she can understand that I'm saying no, we can't do what you want.