EV is getting better every day at communicating with words, but her primary language seems to be the language of music and dance.
Last night she did a lot of sly smiling and edging around Liz and Patrick while they were over for dinner. That is, up until I asked if she wanted met to put the music on.
“Shake It Off?” EV queried?
“Really, do you want to use your one daily listen to ‘Shake It Off’ right now?”
“Sure!” I replied.
She proceeded to boogie down to “Bad,” and then her second-favorite song, “Shut Up and Dance With Me.” After that, she was more like her normal, chatty self. It was the same when Gina paid us a visit last month. EV was all coy shyness until we had a dance party. Then, full silliness and reciting the periodic table of elements.
I never really understood how toddler shyness worked before. I’d meet a shy toddler, and her or his parent would say, “Oh, s/he’s just being shy,” and I’d kinda just shrug my shoulders and think, “Well, yeah, I’m a big loud stranger, that make sense.” I had never been on the other side of a toddler – the side where they are completely comfortable and at their most chatty and performative. I think I assumed those things were a polite fiction or exaggeration.
(Common Theme Alert: Getting older and being a parent has made me realize a lot of my flip judgments of people aren’t really fair. Maybe the J in my Myers-Briggs is finally ready to flip back to a P?)
Then I met EV. EV who speaks in whole sentences and sings entire songs when she’s in the house with E and I, and then clams up when a new person comes over to visit right up until we break out the music. It makes a certain amount of sense, I guess, since the friends of ours she knows best are Ashley, Jake, and Zina, because they come over to play music almost every week.
I guess she just associates trust with seeing people move their bodies to sound.
I can’t even begin to express how satisfying this is to me. I’m passing down one of the most important things my parents gave me, which is that unabashed, unfiltered, sometimes unhinged love of music. I spent so many hours rocking in a rocking chair singing along to Glass Houses and The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, and desperately trying to ape my mom’s moves as she broke it down to Michael Jackson and Rufus & Chaka Khan.
Hhere I am, doing the same with EV, to a lot of the same music, plus music I’ve grown up with, and even Taylor Swift, who I suppose is going to be her Michael Jackson.
That’s another post entirely.