Weeble (almost nine months old) loves to use the word cat (pronounced either kæ or kæt) when she sees one of the cats around and we never hear her use it otherwise, leading us to believe that she has acquired something close to the correct meaning of "cat". Last night I got a new glimpse into what she considers relevant "cat" material. While I was changing Squeakles into his pajamas, Weeble was in the crib babbling to herself. Suddenly I heard an unmistakable (if you are one of her parents) "cat, cat". I looked over, surprised to hear her saying it without a cat around, and saw her with a plush puppy toy in her lap, looking at its face and saying "cat!" I said good job, then corrected her saying, "that's a dog", but then I wondered if the distinction would be harder than it's worth and I didn't want to undo whatever was right in her meaning of cat, so I repeated, "yeah, cat!" She grinned as wide as she could and repeated "cat" and then laughed, as if really pleased with herself and her observation.
(Huh, and we wonder why Squeakles spent almost three years referring to himself as "you" and thinking that the way to say yes is "ga".)