Learning to understand how toddlers communicate is a bit of an uphill battle, and I remember asking a friend how he managed with his kids during Olivia’s first birthday. His two girls are one and two years older than Olivia and he has a son who’s about six months younger, so his experience is much greater than mine.

He told me that he tried to concentrate on picking out any identifiable word in a sentence and provide a response to that word. HIs younger daughter raced in a moment later, excited because of the new and different cats she was meeting. A stream of toddler happiness punctuated by a couple of obvious words poured out, he winked at me and started talking about the white cat she mentioned seeing.

I kept that piece of information in the back of my mind and figured that sometimes you have to sound out what they’re saying to get an idea, then I got an amazing surprise the other day – sometimes, Olivia gets into cuddly moods, and she was in one when she suddenly got very quiet.

She mumbled something to me quietly that I couldn’t hear.

“Pardon honey?” I said, leaning closer to her on the couch.

“Ah lubba doo” she replied, looking downwards shyly. I didn’t understand for a second and then it dawned on me.

“I love you too baby!” and I leaned in for a cuddle. She has to be in the right mood to say it, but hearing her say that she loves me for the first time was the sweetest thing.


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