Lessons From Strangers

I had to run an errand today, so I brought Phoebie out with me. During our time outside, a few people we met set me thinking.

Encounter 1
On our way to our destination, Phoebie started chatting up some commuters (as usual). Today, it was a mother and her daughter who looked like she was of primary school age.

The whole time on the train, Phoebie was saying hi to them and talking about things like “We are holding the pole right?” or “There are 3 hands on the pole, right?”. The mother was particularly amused by Phoebie and kept laughing.

As we were approaching our destination, she asked me how old Phoebie is. I told her that Phoebie is almost 3. She was surprised and said her younger daughter is the same age and her younger daughter is a lot quieter and doesn’t speak as well as Phoebie does. I was in turn surprised because the 3 year-olds around me are all rather chatty.

This made me appreciate Phoebie’s friendliness and her ability to engage people. I rarely think much about Phoebie’s linguistic abilities too, and the conversation with this mother made me think that Phoebie can actually communicate quite well.

Encounter 2
The second encounter was when I was buying fruits for Phoebie at a fruits shop. There was a lady in front of us in the queue and Phoebie kept saying she wanted to eat 草莓 (strawberries). I was busy telling Phoebie that I was getting the strawberries for her but she could only eat them after lunch.

The lady in front of us must have heard our conversation because she looked at us and smiled. And then she said, “You’re lucky she eats strawberries.”

I told her, “She loves strawberries.”

She smiled at us again and said, “Have a nice day”, and went on her way.

I kept wondering why she said I was lucky that Phoebie eats strawberries. It is such a norm to me because Phoebie is quite a strawberry monster.

After a while, I thought, “Well, I’m lucky she likes any fruits at all.” Sure, Phoebie is picky about certain food but she really loves fruits. Maybe the lady’s kids doesn’t like fruits, and hence her comment.

Encounter 3
After Phoebie’s nap in her stroller, I wanted to bring her to the basement of the mall where food stalls were to buy her a snack. When we were in the lift, Phoebie repeated everything the announcer said. “Third storey. First storey. Basement two.”

The lady in the lift with us was amused and giggled as Phoebie repeated the words. When we got to basement two, Phoebie repeated basement two a few times and the lady said, “That’s a big word.”

I wondered why she said that because I have heard Phoebie say bigger words like excavator or helicopter. So I said, “She has many big words.”

Phoebie said basement two again and the lady again said, “That’s a big word”, smiled and went on her way.

I kept wondering why she said that and my guess was that she must have thought that Phoebie was younger than she is.

But as I thought about it a little more, I was once again reminded of how I probably didn’t appreciate Phoebie’s linguistic abilities enough.

Sure, there are days when she will say things that amaze or amuse me, but I really need to appreciate her every milestone more.

So baby girl, good job on everything you learn and achieve every day. 🙂 More kisses and hugs for you when you wake up tomorrow!


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