Eliot seems to comprehend so much that these days we are often able to have conversations. We talk while we're building blocks, about which one should go where and whether it's time to knock the tower over. We talk while we're playing cars, about whose car is whose and big crashes. When I ask him to throw something in the trash, he runs and does it. When I say, "It's time to go to Sandy's house," he goes to the hall closet and says, "Coat? Hat?"
Because of these growing layers of communication, I sometimes forget that he is just two years old. Not even two, yet. And so when, in the car on the way home from town, he asks, "Juice?" I hand him his juice box and say, "Okay, but please be very careful not to squeeze it."
That is what I say. What he HEARS is, "Okay, blah, blah, blah, SQUEEZE IT."
And then I hear, "Uh-oh!"
The dreaded "Uh-oh!" Those words are frighteningly familiar to the ears of any mother of a toddler. They make us squirm with anxiety because "Uh-oh!" can mean so many different things.
Sometimes "Uh-oh!" means, "I dropped my baby doll on the floor." No big deal.
Or, "My sock just fell off." Again, not exactly cause for a heart attack.
Then again, sometimes, "Uh-oh!" means, "Huh, will you look at that? Turns out matchbox cars DON'T float when you put them in the toilet."
Or, "Mom, instead of giving the cat one scoop of kibble, like you suggested, I gave him THE ENTIRE BAG and now there's kibble covering the floor of the utility room. From wall to wall."
And then there's the scenario in which "Uh-oh!" actually means, "Somehow juice just exploded out of this box and is running down my coat and carseat straps and puddling under my crotch. Gee, too bad you're busy driving and can't turn around and get the juice box from me before I squeeze it AGAIN. Because I'm just curious whether there's still any juice in the box."
Some days I feel like we spend the entire day just moving from one "Uh-oh!" to the next. Some days it's exhausting. Some days it's fun. Most days I learn something. For instance, only rookie parents hand a kid a juice box in a moving vehicle.