One of the most consistently amazing parts of being a parent is watching your child learn how to speak. When Annie said her first word, “Uh-oh” (an appropriate one in retrospect), I lost my mind.

“Heather! She’s talking! She said a word! OUR CHILD CAN SPEAK!!!”

I was so excited I almost lifted her in the air ala Simba from “The Lion King.” At that moment I couldn’t imagine it could get any more awesome or surreal than that, but it has, many times over, and what she said this week might be her most awesome bit of speaking yet.

Annie has understood for a while that everyone has a name, and can recite the names of her family members and friends. This week, however, she started to understand the concept of names on a deeper level, i.e. that you can have a formal name AND a nickname, or a first AND last name.

She demonstrated this understanding by telling me, “Dada, your name is Mike!” and then “Mama’s name is Heather!” She didn’t stop there though. She also started to refer to her grandparents as Bampa Kirk, Grandpa Tony, Grandma Linda, and Grandma Coffee (my mom’s name is Kathy… somehow Annie turned Kathy into coffee).

loves the seesaw
“Yeah, I like to talk. What of it?”

Annie was just getting warmed up though when it came to this two name stuff. On Monday she told Grandma Linda that her name was “Annabel Spohr.”

“Wow!” Linda said. “That’s right. ‘Spohr’ is your last name. It’s also your Daddy’s… Mike Spohr.”

Annie didn’t like this for some reason.

“No! Annabel Spohr!”

“Yes, Annie. ‘Spohr’ is your name, but it’s also your Daddy’s. Your Mommy’s too. Mommy’s name is Heather Spohr.”


At that point Linda was like, “Oookay… Time to go play blocks.”

Later, I worked with Annie to help her understand that the “Spohr” name belonged not just to her but her Mommy and Daddy too. She finally got it and said, “Your name is Mike Spohr.”

“That’s right!” I said. “Good job!”

“Mama’s name is Heather Spohr.”


“And Elmo’s name is Elmo Spohr.”


“Rapunzel’s name is Rapunzel Spohr.”

“No, Annie, hold on. Only –”

“Dora’s name is Dora Spohr.”

“Oookay… Time to go play blocks.”

For the rest of the day I learned that I had lots of family members I didn’t know about such as Big Bird Spohr, Super Why Spohr, and Santa Spohr.

So while Annie might not actually be a genius, I’m still constantly amazed at how quickly she understands language. It’s pretty cool to see, and I can’t wait to see what she says next.

And for the record? My favorite new relative by far is Santa Spohr. His name has a nice alliterative ring to it.