I'm pretty sure it's because her Darwinian survival instinct has kicked it up a notch, but the baby has just learned to say I love you. Or, in her case, I love ew. It sometimes sounds like she's saying I low, ewww, as if the act of loving is necessary and inevitable, but nonetheless disgusting. She's not wrong.
Because she is clever, she understands that she can use these words -- which no doubt have no meaning for her except for what actions tend to follow them -- to get stuff. Sometimes she says it in what appears to me a genuine way, to communicate affection, like when she puts her head on my shoulder and accompanies this gesture with a tender "I love ew," or when she follows Seconda around, running after her sister and uttering a beseeching "I LOVE EW."
And sometimes, she'll ask for "awwanjj jus" and when I don't give it to her, she'll open the fridge and point vehemently to the Tropicana, repeating "awwanjj jus" and then, when she still doesn't get it, she'll try "i love ew?" because she knows I am, for the time being, incapable of resisting that siren song. I crumble.
Eventually, I suppose, I'll build up a tolerance to it and be able to enforce rules again. For all our sakes, I hope it's soon. But right now, I'm just luxuriating in it. I love, ewww.
Nicole is a parenting writer who contributes essays and articles for magazines like Parenting, Parents, American Baby and Babble. She lives in Brooklyn with three children, one husband and a morbidly obese goldfish.