When correcting her would be the wrong thing to do

One of Leta’s favorite exercises in interaction is bidding an enthusiastic farewell to things. When she’s finished brushing her teeth she hands me the toothbrush to put back into the drawer and says, “Bye bye, teeth!” Whenever I come back into the house after retrieving the newspaper off the porch she will run over to close the door behind me and say, “Bye bye, door!” Whenever she asks for me to unscrew the lid to a tube of Chapstick and I say no, last time you ate it because it tasted like vanilla, she stares at me for a few seconds to emphasize the fact that she once loved me and says, “Bye bye, Mom!” And then she walks right over to her father to ask the same thing.

My mother recently bought Leta a one-size too big tracksuit, and this morning she found the jacket I had stored in her bottom drawer. She carried it out to the living room and asked Jon to help her put it on. “Coat, Daddy! Coat!” Jon gently stuck each of her arms through the sleeves and after he zipped it up she visibly shuddered under the weight of her adorableness.

I am to be blamed for what she did next, because any time I buy her clothing I bully her into thinking that they are the most wonderful clothes ever manufactured for the human body. I will take them slowly out of the shopping bag, hold each piece up to her body and say, “How cuuuuute! Aw! So cute!” and then hand them to her so she can do the same thing. You just wait, you. When you have your own kid you are going to spend hours, HOURS, trying to get her to imitate your every move, not because you are trying to teach her anything but because it is fun and it is evil. Just yesterday I got her to bow in front of me and say, “Maaama, Maaama” as if I were a religious idol.

Once her jacket was zipped up Leta twirled around in circles saying, “Cuuuute! So cute!” And then she held out her arms to show the world the extent of its cuteness. After a few more minutes of this fashion show she jerked at the zipper and started shouting, “Oss! Oss!” Which means OFF but she refuses to pronounce the F correctly, sometimes saying, “Osh!” or “Opps!” or “Oth!” I once sat her down and had her look directly at my lips as I said, “Offfffffffff.” She immediately contorted her mouth to make the same shape mine had and said right back to me, “Ossssssss.”

Jon finally got the zipper undone, and just as he pulled her arms out she whipped around, waved at the jacket and said, “Bye bye, so cute!”