Ali has been expressing possession for a couple of months now. She can distinguish between "shoe mommy," "shoe daddy," and "shoe Ali." She can say "chair mommy" and "chair Ali." She knows whose sweater is whose, whose coat is whose.
One thing that seemed to have temporarily thwarted her, though, was the idea of "mommy" and "daddy" itself. When we read her books, we talk about the mommy and daddy in the book, so she's become very skilled at accurately identifying males and females. The only problem is that all males are "daddy" and all females are "mommy."
This makes for some awkward social moments. I feel like I need to explain to the strangers she calls "mommy" that she doesn't actually think THEY are her mommy, that's just what she calls women in general. Rather than getting into self-conscious explanations each time, I've settled for saying, "Yes, she's someone's mommy. That's a woman." And then Ali tries to say "woman" and I praise her and we move on.
A couple of weeks ago, we were in sitting in the car in the parking lot at daycare, getting ready to buckle her into her seat and head home. She saw one of her friend's, Julio, leaving with his dad.
"Daddy! Daddy!" Ali said urgently. "Julio!"
"Yes," I told her. "That's Julio with his daddy."
"Julio daddy. Julio daddy!" she exclaimed, finally connecting her knowledge of possessives with this concept.
"That's right! That's Julio's daddy!" I praised her.
Then she looked at me and said "Mommy. Ali Mommy!"
I beamed. "That's right baby! I'm Ali's Mommy!"
And she smiled her huge, gleeful smile, thrilled with herself, with her ability to express her possession of me. She smiled and threw herself forward and gave me a huge hug, saying again, "Ali mommy!"
Being Ali's mommy rocks.