Playful, elegant, and not above the judicious use of the word “shit."

Pointing out the obvious

One of Leta’s new favorite ways to demonstrate her outstanding retention is to identify everyone in the room. She’ll point her right index finger — the one she holds up to show how old she is — to each person around her and say, “Dat’s Mama. Dat’s Daddy.” And if there is someone among us whose name she hasn’t yet stored in her mental Rolodex she’ll get very quiet, slink over to me and whisper so that no one else can hear, “Dat is?” And the look of panic in her eyes says that I had better let her know quick because her reputation is on the line.

One afternoon last week we were having lunch with our babysitter when Leta started pointing to everyone. “Dat’s Kay-yee,” she said pointing to the babysitter, Katey, someone she only recently stopped referring to as Tiki. Katey says that most kids have a hard time with her name, and she’s even been called KeeKee by those related to her. That’s nothing when you consider that no kid can say Heather, and the closest any one of my young relatives came was NerNer. Aunt NerNer, Giant Alien Squid.

After she pointed to Mama and Daddy I asked her to point to Jon as an exercise in putting together the fact that Daddy is the same person as the one whose name Mama yells in a homicidal tone all day. She looked straight at him and said, “Der he is!” Then I asked her to point to Heather, and without any hesitation she stuck her finger in my direction and shouted, “Der he is!”

I think my new haircut may be confusing her.

Turns out I can get her to refer to me as a he on command, and we taped her doing it yesterday while we were all gathered on the bed, all of us including the animal living on Leta’s head. Right before the beginning of this clip Leta was being as harpy as an old woman trying to bargain down the price of a stick of gum, and to calm her down I flipped out the monitor on the side of the camera so that she could watch herself being taped. It worked, and you can see the exact moment she recognizes herself because her face lights up with a giddy grin you might see on a man presented with an ice cream cone of cleavage.

Flash video
Quicktime movie

  • Very, very cute. I also love the picture you posted of you two walking.

    She is getting so big.

  • meredith

    Try having a name like Meredith when you live in france. No one can say it. Then again, with a name like Heather, you wouldn’t have it any easier.

  • Very, very cute. I also love the picture you posted of you two walking.

    She is getting so big.

  • My youngest daughter, who is just behind Leta in months, just recently started with the ‘naming everybody’ game. Only she often mistook her two oldest sisters (who no longer live at home) for each other. So she would call Katie Amber and vice versa. Katie kept correcting her “MY name is Katie.”

    The other day, when this happened, Rae replied by putting her hand on her chest and saying “I name Rae-Rae” as if the two of them were meeting for the first time.

    Ain’t nuthin’ better than a 2 year old trying to master the language. You can teach them ANYTHING. During the day, if you ask “Where is the moon, Rae?” she’ll tell you “China!” It’s almost as good as having my own little circus monkey, god love her.

  • Ang

    Leta is cute beyond words. And your picture today…priceless!

  • 30 seconds after I brush my hair I look like I threw my hair into the air during a windstorm and ran underneath it. The most wonderful thing my mom ever taught me was the beauty of the ponytail.

    Its really not fair that Leta has the same kind of hair, and yet looks so cute.

  • Oh awwwww.. I keep saying it.. the adorableness is just oozing out! So cute!

  • Hey, I LIKE the name “Ner Ner”. And that Ner Ner is a Giant Squid makes it even better. Have a nice day!

  • Ah, the brilliance of the toddler. My kindergarten graduate still calls her dad “mama” and me “daddy.” We’re interchangable to her. Yeah, we’re parents. She doesn’t care which one we are unless we’re yelling at her, then the other parent is her savior.

  • MommyofOne

    Heather,

    When Leta says “Mama” it looks like she makes the ASL sign for “star”. Cute!

    Jessica

  • LOVELOVELOVE the Leta-Movies. Thanks!

    Oh, and my niece mixed up her pronouns (she even made up several) until the better part of her 5th year. According to the specialist, nothing to worry about and now she’s over 6 and not a bit confused at all. Just took her a while to figure it all out.

  • Urs

    completely unrelated, but DUDE!, where’s jon?

  • sara

    sigh…

    seriously – I think that Simon is in LOVE with her. I show him other videos of kids and he’s never interested. Pull out the Leta clips and, good lord, the kid wants to eat my iBook monitor!

    thank you for keeping us supplied! sometimes it’s my ONLY hope of keeping him happy!

  • I am a Katie and I was called Tatie by my boyfriend’s son for the first 2 and half years of his life. My niece calls me Tayyyy, and I stress those extra ‘y’s – it is almost like Tay-yay-yay.

    I am impressed that Leta knows your first names. Little Patrick couldn’t quite grasp his father’s “human name” until he was about three – and Little Patrick is a Junior. I think the fact that he is a junior was confusing. In his mind, he was the ONLY James Patrick.

    Leta is too cute for words. And too smart!

  • ben

    “Heather” is a tough one for the little ones. Our nephew used to pronounce it in an amusing way: Aunt Heiffer.

    Either that, or that’s what the rest of my family actually called my wife behind our backs.

  • It’s like having your very own little science experiement. I need to get one of those.

  • Note to self: do not watch clip of Leta while breastfeeding ever again, as risk having child yank nipple off in mad dash to say hello to Leta.

  • My poor sister. My parents named her Michelle, along with half of the other childbearing couples of the early 70s. She was renamed “Shell” by myself when I was a youngin’. It is name that she has been stuck with her whole life, with not a little bit of resentment on her part.

    When my own little girl came along, she developed a fascination at about 18 months with the seashells that I used to decorate our bathroom. She would play with them for hours at a time. Obviously, she couldn’t pronounce “seashells,” she called them “shar-shars.” Aunt Shell was renamed “Aunt Shar” by my Daughter. Shell was actually quite pleased with the new name. Eventually, Daughter learned how to pronounce her “L”s and “Shell” made a comeback, much to my sister’s dismay.

  • My three sons are named Greg, Keith and Eric. Greg and Keith had the nicknames of Greggie and Keeker. My daughter is the youngest of the tribe, and when she was little, she called her brothers JeeJee, KeeKoh and UckUck. I always told people she was an Eskimo in a past life.

  • blazingkate

    As a Kate, I’ve been referred to as “Cake” by a three-year-old, which makes people terribly excited when they hear that Cake will be arriving later, and much less so when it’s actually me that shows up. Unless I come bearing cake.

  • Dude, even our cats have a crush on Leta.

  • Growing up with multiple younger cousins meant hearing my name butchered by countless little kids. Unfortunately, they all butchered “Kathleen” the same way. For years I’ve been known as “Assclean”.

  • katielady

    I have done a lot of babysitting and found that kids either called me “cake-ee” or “tate-ee”. They could get one consonant sound, but not both. I have not been called Tiki, though I wouldn’t mind.

  • My daughter is slightly older than Leta and she calls my friend Heather “Heaven”.

  • tk

    The cuteness is painfull…..

    And your hair is great!!!

  • babbling

    mmmmmmmmm lemon meringue pie and Leta videos. The pleasure shall surely kill me.

  • Flirt. She’s a bloody flirt. It’s hilarious.

  • So. cute. I love how all the 2-year-old boys have crushes on Leta.

  • Janell

    Oh, my mom used to hook up an 80’s style camcorder to our TV in the basement so the picture would show up on the screen. My baby brother at age 4, then the only one not in school, would dress up as a ninja turtle, swing his numchucks, and make his own movies. No lie, they’re still funny and he’s now a theatre major in college. Kids must love seeing themselves on the “big screen!” Leta is adorable!!

  • It is my most heartfelt belief that it is high time the Mensa people were alerted of Leta’s skills!

  • elise

    My 3 year old son still doesn’t have his pronouns figured out, but he does know there’s a difference. He’s always asking about people—“Is [insert name here] a he or a she?” He uses he/she him/her pretty interchangeably, even within the same sentence. He’ll move on and learn it soon enough and it will become one of those “cute things he used to do” that we wax nostalgic about!

  • Heather,

    In lieu of a memorable comment, I will just say that I LOVE the addition of Leta/Chucklette videos. They make me very happy 🙂

    I know, boring comment. I know that you read them, though, so I wanted to share my appreciation for your site and your darling family!!!

  • don’t feel bad. it’s completely normal for a child her age to confuse gender. for the longest time my oldest son used to call me daddy and his father mommy. and at almost 5, he’s still a little confused with the gender thing. he has referred to himself and his brother as both boys and girls at different times. but then he also wants to wear my makeup and says he’s pretty, so he may not be that normal afterall. :S

  • my first name is alithea, pronounced UH LEE THEE UH, like alicia with a lisp. my younger sister took to calling me SISSYA as a sort of compromise between my title and my name.

  • katy66

    I MISS THIS AGE! Though my Olivia is 3 right now, and I hate to say, it just gets cuter…..Until they are demanding their own cell phone, computer and web cam in their room so they can take sexy pictures of themselves, in order to put you in an early grave so they don’t have to have “rules” anymore and can cash in on your life insurance policy………….

    Anyways, they are still cute now:-)

  • Oh, that hair! Do YOU like Flock Of Seagulls?? I think so!

  • Having the name Heather, means being referred to as “Hedder” or “Hader” by the six and under set.

  • jes

    I love how she embraces being on film. Such a little ham. A hairy ham.

  • I’m a heather too, and my friend’s two year old daughter calls me Butter because she can’t say Heather. Not even kidding. I hope she never calls me Heather.

  • danika

    Completely adorable, as usual.

    My hair is trying that same look today; why is it not cute on me?!

  • Heather, ye who loves all things technologically advanced, is that a VHS PLAYER in the background?!

    Gosh, Leta is the cutest kid I’ve ever seen.

  • our nephew calls our cousin Katey, KeeKee as well. I’m not sure if he still does it, though. his grasp of the English language has gotten frighteningly good over the past couple of months to the point where I have to be really careful what I say around him now. he’s 29 months going on 7.

  • you make me miss my nieces – and yet i’m still digging out the chocolate and nacho cheese they have smeared into my carpet.

    josh the dog feels the same way but mostly BECAUSE of the chocolate and nacho cheese they have smeared into my carpet. two great tastes…

    i suspect he also likes them because they smell like poop. truly part of his pack.

  • Pascha

    My niece was almost 4 before she could correctly pronounce my name, and even then, she had to take her time. It always came out “Pa-ya.” (Both sound like saying aahhhh.) Plus, she had a really raspy voice. Too cute.

  • If you wish to arrange a marriage in the distant future, my two-year-old Sam is captivated by Leta!

  • I think it’s funny that she called Katey “Tiki.” My son called the sofa a “fosa” for several years.

  • I think NerNer is infinitely preferable to what the kids I used to babysit called me: Amburger. I mean, every kid can say hamburger, but extracting Amber out of there is hard. Bingo, Amburger!

  • She is friggin’ cute. I want to pinch her cheeks.

  • Nicknames in my family are usually bestowed upon by the inarticulate children. My niece has called me “Chow Chow Mona” even though I remain firm that I in no way resemble a dog.

  • My baby loves watching Leta videos.

    The closest my little brother could come to pronouncing “Erica” was “Ca-ca,” so I was always referred to as garbage. Nice.