She Always Knows More

Wednesday

Fiona is sitting in her highchair, eating breakfast. I am in the kitchen. “Mary Had a Little Lamb” is playing on the tablet.

Just after the song goes “His fleece…” I hear Fiona’s talker say, “white.”

I didn’t know she knew her colors, I didn’t know she knew the lyrics to the song, I didn’t know she knew how to find “white” on her talker.

Most of the day, her hand hits the screen chaotically, creating what sounds like gibberish. Turn turn turn again Cathy in within. But every once in awhile, we hear these crisp utterances, too accurate to be coincidental.

Friday

I am changing Petra’s diaper, singing her a song to keep her occupied. Fiona is in the next room, babbling on her talker. “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands,” I sing, and Petra claps. “If you’re sick and you know it, sniff your nose,” I sing, and Petra sniffs. “If you’re tired and you know it,” I sing, and then, in the other room, I hear Fiona’s talker say, “Tired.”

Saturday

Justin and I are in the whirlwind of morning: getting bibs and sippy cups, cooking eggs, dropping banana bits and cheerios onto highchair trays. Fiona is in her highchair with her talker. In the whirlwind, Justin manages to set two mugs of tea down on the table. One is beige and one is blue. “Which one is mine?” I ask him. “The blue one?”

“Yeah,” Justin says.

“Blue,” Fiona says with her talker.

I am collecting these bits as evidence. They reiterate the lesson Fiona teaches me again and again: she always knows more than we know she knows. Always.

Fiona smiling with her blue metallic walker, on a summer-green lawn at sunset.

Fiona smiling with her blue metallic walker, on a summer-green lawn at sunset.

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