Imoto has been making incredible strides in communication over the past few weeks in particular. She gets mad now if you don't immediately understand her combination of looks, gestures, and made-up words (like "acamba") or otherwise show any hesitation in figuring out and doing what she wants. She can kind of say "mine," a key word for a year-and-a-half-year-old surrounded by older girls in day care and by onechan everywhere else (yes, onechan's just that fast). She tries to sing the "atsui, samui" song I made up (to the tune of Frere Jacques), loves to chime in on choruses like "ee aye ee aye oh" and "ai ai," can repeat about a quarter of the Japanese alphabet, and points out Dora wherever she can find her (and believe me that's just about everywhere) with a triumphant "Do-ah" (door in Japanese). I'm thinking by her second birthday in late April she'll be having some real conversations with onechan.
Speaking of whom, onechan is going through a language explosion of her own. If you put her on the spot, she'll claim she can't do it, but she's been making up stories a lot lately (often telling them to her toys)--and answering questions about them. When I told a friend about Suweet and Saja, it occurred to me to ask her how they make the earth spin. "They jump up and down," she said. "And they tickle it. And dance." My friend asked her if they blow on it, too. She thought for a while and politely said yes, but when I asked her about that in the car a few days later, she nixed it. And she's been quick to pick up on how they're relevant to her usual time travel scenarios. This time she went from saying she wanted to be little again to saying she wanted to skip right ahead to her 6th birthday to complaining that she didn't want night to come. "You can't stop time," I told her. "To keep it from getting dark, you'd need to make the earth stop spinning." When her eyes lit up I knew I was in for a long story about the Super Prius and her visit to Suweet and Saja at the North Pole.
Come to think of it, I never finished that story. Maybe something for the car ride to Buffalo later today!