And just like that, Silas is talking.
It's all about context, of course. The same word means four different things, and probably you wouldn't know what any of them were, but if you're around him enough, it becomes clear that he's not babbling. Babbling is for BABIES, and he has no time to be a baby. He has a brother to tackle. He's TALKING - asking to hear his favorite song in the car, asking to be held so that he can see what all the fuss is about on the kitchen counter, asking for juice and crackers, illustrating his dad's story by repeating all the best words emphatically ("BIG airplane - wow"). And it doesn't matter that I've been teaching kids to talk for almost ten years. It doesn't matter that I just watched his brother do the same thing a year and a half ago. Every time I witness a child learning to communicate, I feel as though I've been a part of something important, something sacred. We rise and fall on words, and my son now has an active voice in his world. I love hearing what he has deemed important enough to remember and repeat, I love the enthusiasm with which he announces "All-Done!" and "Elephant!" I love to hear his little mind at work.
With that, I'm off to save the world. Not really - I'm off to teach one child to use verbs and to measure the progress of another, while my children are off to learn the value of their own voice in the big wide world. It's going to be a good day.