M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Monday, June 02, 2003  

Deniece at One-And-Three-Eighths

Deniece is sixteen-and-a-half months old now, and I think she’s going to be a botanist when she grows up. She and her mom came to our house for a visit this weekend, and we went for a little walk past a few of the houses on our block. Some of the neighbors have some lovely front-yard gardens, but I don’t know enough about plants to identify anything. Fortunately, Deniece’s mom used to work in a flower shop, and is quite the expert. She wasn’t with us on our walk, but she’s passed enough knowledge on to her daughter that she was able to help me out.

Deniece pointed at a scattering of medium-sized red blossoms with large red petals and explained, “FOUAAAAA.” The magenta ones another house down are apparently called “FOUAAAA.” And all this time, I had been under the impression that dandelions are weeds, but it turns out that they are actually a FOUAAAA; more precisely, they are a species called FOUAAAA within the genus FOUAAAA.

I picked a dandelion in spore form and handed it to her to see if she knew what to do with it; she immediately put it in front of her mouth and blew. I shouldn’t have been surprised; anyone who mastered cellphones a year ago won’t have much trouble with spreading yard-plague.

Her vocabulary is growing, though. She’s getting better at pronouncing her great-uncle’s name (“VOO”—either that or she was asking to be brought to a certain adult entertainment establishment in the Warehouse District). At the Mall of America (don’t ask) she pointed at several signs advertising Underwater World and shouted “BAHP-BAAAAH” at each one before we realized that she was correctly identifying Spongebob, whose likeness they featured rather improminently. At our house, Strat wandered under the chair she was lashed to with a dishtowel and although she hadn’t seen him in almost a year, she greeted him convivially with a straight-armed point and a call of “MAOW.” Which probably meant more to him than it does when we say “please stop peeing on the bed,” when you think about it. The neighbor’s gigantic chocolate lab, a beast distinguishable from a horse only by his inferior intelligence, was identified as “UFFUFF.” Oddly, she’s got her own word for outside—it’s an anagram of our word for it, which I was able to figure out by the way she kept wailing “EITSDOU” exactly the same way over and over and dashing herself against the front door.

But the best word was the one that Trash and I were lucky enough to hear for the first time. Denice typically calls her mom by her given name beacause, hey, that’s what everyone else calls her. But yesterday, she clearly and distinctly said “MAMA.” We asked her to repeat it, and she obliged: “MAMA.” It was an exciting and touching moment.

It would have been even more exciting and touching if MAMA hadn’t been in the bathroom and thus completely out of earshot at that moment.

posted by M. Giant 3:53 PM 0 comments


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