A couple of days ago, Pata played in the kitchen with her little toy bat as I cooked dinner. Holding him by his wings, she shook him up and down. “Vola!” she said, “Vola Vola!”
“Oh,” I asked her, “is Bruno flying?”
“Bruno is a bat,” I told her, “say bat.”
“Vola!” she said.
The next morning she found Bruno on the bedroom floor. “Pipistrello,” she said, carefully pronouncing the four-syllable word.
“That’s right!” I told her. A word that big coming from a toddler’s mouth deserves recognition, whether in the right language or not.
Later, she played with her bath toys beside the tub as I showered. She arranged them on the floor, saying their names in Italian: pesce (fish,) popilo (polipo, octopus,) pinguino (penguin.) Then she put one on the edge of the tub.
“Oh, what is that? I asked, pointing to the grinning, hot pink sea creature she had placed there.
“Crab,” she said.
“That’s right,” I said, smiling.”Crab.”