We'd been joking around about the current political farce, excuse me, 'election season', and I'd said something to the effect of "...pssht kissing babies... No More Kissing Babies..." Number 3 had been playing happily at my feet throughout the conversation, and also, unbeknownst to me: listening.
I tried to tell her that I was talking about something else, and that I hadn't meant it with regard to her. She was inconsolable. Finally, I picked her up, and gave her a smooch, and said, "See babies still get smooches!" She immediately calmed down, climbed off my lap, and went back to playing.
For months I've known she understands almost all of what we say on a day to day basis. A few weeks after she started to walk, I handed her a piece of paper towel, and asked her to put it in the compost bag in the kitchen under the sink. Off she went, and did exactly that. I knew she understood words, but I hadn't realized they could be so real for her. To her, the phrase I'd uttered meant she was never going to get another smooch again. The words created a reality for her, and it took a demonstration of an actual other reality to undo their effect.
Coincidentally, I've been on a 'positive power of words' reading spree lately, and No. 3 lent a perfect example to illustrate the point made by the books I've been reading. If you're interested in what all the hubbub's about, here are some of the books I've sampled:
You might know this author from How to Win Friends, and Influence People. This tract similarly lays out techniques based on the author's experience, the experience of students who attended his seminars, and the experience of successful executives the author interviewed. These techniques include living life one day at a time; reflective writing to solve problems; and the importance of springing into action rather than dwelling on a problem. Portions of the book may be off-putting if religion isn't your thing. The power of positive thinking discussions in the book tend to reiterate the author's opinion that positive thinking is equivalent to prayer. Personally, I found the examples drawn form many faiths, including agnosticism to be refreshing in their inclusiveness.