My Layla is a perfectionist. There is a rumor floating around that "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree", so I can't say I'm surprised.
Babble, she will not. Prattle on, no sir. She picks one word. She then must practice and perfect, practice and perfect. Once practiced and perfected, she continues onto the next one word. Practicing and perfecting.
Since I am, assumably, her favorite, it was fitting she would elect to speak "mama" first. Great jubilee!!!! (!!!!) Elated, I bragged to Matt at every opportunity and then would turn to Layla and instruct: "SAY mama." I executed this in the singsong manner which we all know "SAY mama" requires, and I made sure to do it an obnoxious number of times a day.
Well, let me tell you. Layla the perfectionist a/k/a Stella the tease. After practicing and perfecting, she then set her sights on: "Boo-Boo" (her pacifier), "Ba-Ba" (bottle), "Not Applicatory" (although advanced, she must have picked up on it because of the frequency by which it is used in the Jentz household), and since then, trolled her way along the banks of all other potential acquisitions, and has settled [*no the connotation this word holds has not escaped me*] on "Dada".
The first time I heard her say it, we were playing on the floor (serious fun to be had for all), waiting for Matt to come home. At that moment, she made her request known. "Dada??" It genuinely melted my heart, as I knew how much it would mean to Matt that she had finally said it. I couldn't wait for him to get home so, together, we could pay homage to the phenomenon which is our daughter. [Yes, I realize this isn't entirely evidentiary of groundbreaking genius. However, when you have children, or if you already have children, you realize that everything they do is the most.amazing.thing.ever. Even their poop faces are precious and "awwwwww"-invoking in their own way!] While I am not [altogether] selfish, since that fateful day, I can't deny it conjurs a lemon-juice-on-my-papercut-sting that she has continued to master, moreover master with exclusivity, Dada.
Blessed with the gift of insight, she knows what I desperately am waiting to hear. "SAY Mama," I instruct. Her smirk breaks into a squeal of glee and she proudly responds: "Dada." Now, I am a patient person by nature, as many of you know, so I breath in and smile BIG at her so she can be confident I love her to the moon and back, despite the fact that she chooses to torment me. "SAY Mama." Laughter, followed with: "Dada."
Oh Stella, you know exactly what you are doing. I hereby make the following proclamation: Although you have managed to to beat me in the battle of wills today, "if at first you don't succeed, try, try again". And, in the meantime, I must admit I slightly enjoy our game [me providing you endless hours of amusement at my own expense] because you are just so stinken' adorable when your nose crinkles up and your right dimple appears [as you taunt me].
I am not worried. I'll find a way to outsmart you, yet. See, the thing is, my skilled little protégé, as far as the outsmarting goes, I am ahead of you in both areas of practice and perfection, by...oh...26 years, 5 months.