Ponytail, the little neighbor girl, calls me “Tooseen.” When I come home from work, she's often jumping up and down on my porch yelling, "Tooseen! Tooseen!" as if it's some kind of cheer. This pronunciation is so far off from my real name that revealing it does not destroy my anonymity. When I first met her, she’d often say phrases that we couldn't figure out, although after a while I got used to her way of talking and could translate most things.
Last year, Ponytail went to a speech therapist at school, and she’s become easier to understand. She’s continued to make progress over the summer, even without the speech therapist. Last week, she said to me, sort of out of the blue, “I can say your name now.” Then slowly, and carefully, she said my first name, both syllables.
I hugged her, and she repeated my name, over and over. I could tell she was proud of her accomplishment, but it made me a little sad too. She’s getting old fast.