J: Claire’s socks are missing.

R: They were on the bed.

J: I know. Julia got them. Now they’re somewhere in the Juliasphere.

R starts to laugh.

J: You know – anywhere in the house that’s, like, this far off the ground.

R: I know exactly what you mean.

She’s at the insanely delicious age between twelve and eighteen months when children are so joyously perfect you want to gobble their pink cheeks and take bong hits off the smell of their hair. She is pure love, with a fat belly and a bottom as big as a melon. She’s toddling like a champ, but when she topples she’s like a Weebl going over backwards onto her round rump. She actually uses this topple in a very characteristic manouever, when she’ll sidle around in front of you and then go Weebling – *plump* – onto your lap.

Whenever one of her people appears on the scene, she squeals “Yay!” She has quite the vocab, in fact, recorded here for your Julia-interpreting convenience:

BEBE GATO! (All cats are called Bebe-gato – an honorific, I think.)
BYE! (You can go now.)
DAIRE! (Rather a fetching title for Claire.)
DAT! (That.)
DAY-DEE! (I think Julia considers Daisy her own dog.)
DISS! (This.)
GOCK! (Sock.)
MI-YO! (Milo.)
PATO! (Zapato. For some reason both girls became obsessed early on with shoes. I blame Salome.)
POOPOO? (Can mean poop, diaper, toilet, wipe, fart or just genial smalltalk.)
TA-TU! (Thank-you!)

I think the most endearing things she’s doing right now, though, are keeping track of your conversation, her wide eyes going from one speaker to the next; imitating the burble and flow of a conversation in strings of what are evidently very meaningful syllables; and most gloriously of all, understanding the rhythm and inflection of jokes, and joining in the laughter almost before it begins. It makes her seem uncannily wise and extraordinarily good company.

I am the luckiest woman alive.

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