She’s just one and a half, not too two.

She does look very cute in a tutu.

But sometimes, her language is too two. And too blue. And too hot.

On a Skype chat with my parents, my aunt, and my cousin, I held up two fingers and asked my daughter, “How many fingers am I holding up?”

“Two!” she replied emphatically. They were duly impressed.

I held up her foot, which was encased in a hand-me-down Croc, her new love (she can put them on herself, and she does, just to walk around the house in them), and asked her what color the shoe was. “Boo!” she replied, with an equal degree of certainty. Boo is the new blue – and perfect for this time of year.

My parents were convinced that their grandchild was surely the smartest year-and-a-half old on this side – or the other side – of the Mississippi. They cheered and applauded, and my aunt and cousin added a “Wow!” of their own.

I could have left it at that. I could have left them with the glow of certainty, the pride in what their genes had done for my daughter, their granddaughter. But I didn’t.

With one finger in the air, a beacon or finger of warning, I asked my not-so-wee daughter, “How many fingers is Mama holding up?”

Confidently she made her pronouncement: “Two!”

I similarly burned off the rosy glow of their belief in her color knowledge by asking what color the button on her pajamas was. “Boo!” she replied, pointing at the purple button.

Every color is blue, every number is two – and all food is hot. Dish her up a bowl of soup, creamy pumpkin and beans and tomatoes mingling in their own private hot tub, and she’ll warn, “Hot!” “Hot,” I’ll agree as I blow on it, finally giving her something closer to a tepid bath. Give her a piece of Havarti, which she prefers over Cheddar, and she’ll touch it with the palm of her hand, using reflexes honed by petting cats who are not always happy to be petted. Her hand springs back as if attached to overstretched rubber bands, and she looks at us wisely, counseling, “Hot! Hot!” “Cold,” I offer. “It came out of the refrigerator. Cold.” She looks at me as if I don’t know my left from my right or my hot from my cold and reiterates, “Hot!”

Hot cheese it is, then.

At some point, she surely will know red from blue and one from two. Knowing hot from cold with be old news – old. For now, I just think it’s nice that she can be right all of the time – if only we ask the right questions. I guess that goes for all of us, doesn’t it?

How many basketballs do you see here? My daughter can tell you!

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