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This Season’s Greetings

December 12, 2011

Joy learns things in clusters. Recently, she has been very interested in, “Hi.”

Last week at school, she spontaneously greeted a friend, “Hi, Chloe.” Two days later, she stablished eye contact with her teacher and said, “Hi, Heidi.”

*****
Understanding that she is tuning up her social scripts, over the weekend it occurred to me that it had been a long time since we reviewed the questions, “What is your name?” and “How old are you?”
So I said, “My name is Carrie. What is your name?”
Nothing.
I tried again, “What is your name?”
She said nothing so I prompted, “You say, ‘My name is Joy.'”
Joy’s face lit up. “Hi, Joy!” she greeted me.
*****
Joy sleeps in our room. At our old house, she had to because we didn’t have as many bedrooms as we have children. At this house, she’ll have her own bedroom. But her-room-to-be will be demolished and rebuilt in the spring when we add the elevator so we didn’t see much point in settling her there now.

This works because Joy is a terrific, quiet sleeper. A great roommate.

Often, by the time she wakes up  in the morning, Papa is already up and about his day. From her corner of the room, in the dim morning light, Joy can’t clearly see if I’m still in bed or not. So she just starts talking because if I’m there, I usually join her conversation.

For half a year, Joy’s “I’m awake now. Are you there?” query has been a recitation of “Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed”–which makes some sense if you know that her cousins gave her three identical monkeys named “Georgie” when she came home from Korea. She plays with them when she wakes up in the morning.

But yesterday, Joy started a new script. I only clearly understood that it began with “Hi, Joy.” So this morning I listened longer. This is what emerged:

“Hi, Joy. Hi, Joy. Do you want to play with toys?” (repeated several times)

“Hello, Joy. Hello, Joy. Do you want to read stories?” (repeated several times)

“Hi, Joy. Hi, Joy. Do you want to read books?” (repeated several times)

“Hello, Joy. Hello, Joy. Glad you came to school!” (repeated several times)

Finally, after five minutes of cycling through scripts starting with the greeting “Hi, Joy,” she found the one she wanted.

“Hi, Joy. Do you want to get up now?” she called to me 🙂 .

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