It’s a two-way thing
For the longest time, my cats were my babies. So I’m used to talking to them without getting a response or reaction. Although Ella does talk back and can understand a few commands like ‘come here’ and ‘let’s eat’ to name a few. But Ella is Ella, and she’s not your average domesticated cat - she’s highly intelligent and she can figure things out easily. Well, things that concern her anyway like a closed door, the catnip drawer, a trip to the vet, and her food dish.
It was a similar case with Lizzy until recently. I would read a book to her and she would listen quite attentively but I had no way of knowing whether they made sense to her or not. I’d narrate to her most of the things we do - from the mundane to the complicated with the hopes that she can somehow understand. I’d tell her not to touch my plate because it’s hot yet I still put it out of her reach just because I anticipate her touching it regardless of my warning. I’d sign to her in an attempt to bridge the gap of our communication just so I can better cater to her needs.
I’m used to doing all those things without getting a response. So you can imagine how I felt the first time she asked for a drink and signed ‘water’ to me. I thought I was dreaming but it never stopped since then. Now she can tell me if she is “all done”, wants water or wants to be held by signing. When she wants to walk around the house, she actually brings her shoes to me. I think it finally dawned on me that she understands more than I give her credit for when she obeyed when I said:
Go get your soccer ball.
Let’s go and change your diaper.
Don’t touch that.
Go get your shoes.
It is easy to get caught up with the developments of your child. I know that. I constantly remind myself not to make a big deal out of these milestones but I almost always fail. How can I not? I mean, how can I not beam with pride and love when she’s sitting on my lap while I read a book to her and her first reaction when seeing a dog in the picture is to say “woof, woof!” or “wack, wack!” for a duck? Tell me, would you not be ecstatic to see your child happily and eagerly wait for you to settle her down and lie side by side with each other to read Brown Bear, Brown Bear? And when she sees the brown bear on the first page, can you really control the overwhelming joy you feel at the sight of your child wiggling her little body in delight? Maybe you can, but not me.
These are my recent joys. The joys of communication. It’s a two-way thing you see.