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It came out of nowhere. Having never heard it before last week, it is now a constant in her repertoire. It has become a go-to in her box of tools.

It’s brilliant, really. Not only is she using it as a device to buy processing time, but as a legitimate request for a repeat of words that she may not have heard or understood.

She says it a LOT.

It’s exaggerated pronunciation is the best part. I wish you could hear it. It’s delicious.

I asked her where it came from. She must have heard it somewhere, right?

“Pardon?” she said in response to my question. Her comic timing is genius. We both dissolved into giggles.

“Where did you get that from?” I asked again. “Does someone say, ‘Pardon?’ in one of your shows?”

“I don’t know,” was her answer.

Fair enough.

And then, days after I’d asked the question, I was sitting on the floor in her room and she walked over and handed me the answer.

“I have something to show you, Mom,” she said.

Those words – “I have something to show you, Mom” – You get that, right? Tell me you get that.

She handed me a book of children’s stories – the one from which we read Goldilocks and the Three Bears again and again and again when she was small. The one with the funny speech bubbles above their heads that I used to read in their voices: squeaky little Baby Bear voice, soft Mama Bear voice, and silly booming Papa Bear baritone. I hadn’t seen the book in years.

“Read it,” she said.

And there, on the page, days after I’d asked it, was the answer to my question.


We worry so much about regression this time of year as our kiddos find comfort in the predictability of routines from their past. But so often regression is just the stretching of the rubber band, pulling back, back, back to build the energy to propel forward.

And sometimes, it is in the very act of digging into the past, that we find a tool to help carry us into the future.

15 thoughts on “pardon?

  1. I Iove when these moments of progress spring from the past. They serve as a reminder that our kids answer to no timetable but their own.

  2. i just love that her head is this huge library of experiences…and when she’s ready, she can reach back as far as she wants and pluck out words and ideas and turn them into a handy little tool…just so great that she can take a book from years back and turn it into this. i forget stuff i read a year ago, but she clearly has all of that info at her disposal.

  3. Yes. Delicious is the best word to describe that. So happy for you. I feel the exact same way every time Kylie makes efforts to spontaneously engage in conversation with me. I have to drink in the moment and savor it. Sometimes I write it down so I won’t forget it. They are so rare and precious.

  4. I love this! Love all of it… The days later answer. The something to show you (totally get it!) and the comic in her. Love.

    My autistic son is 5 and now, after wondering if he would ever seek to share, the king of repeated “mommy, come and see!” And “look at me mom!”. It (almost) never gets old. 🙂

  5. Love it. LOVE it. From the new script in her tool box to the ability to show you where she got it from.

    Our kids find their own way….

  6. i just realized that this is why i love your blog… because i get that completely. those moments when my daughter says and does something huge, and no one but my husband and i really get how huge it is. but this community gets it- wow. incredible!

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