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Saturday, June 17, 2006  

Look Who's Talking

M. Small is learning words faster than we can keep track of them. Which is good. Soon he'll be able to tell us exactly what's wrong when something's bothering him, which means no more crying, ever. That'll be nice. He'll probably cry less, too.

We're communicating better in ways aside from his expanding vocabulary. He can ask what's happening or what we're doing simply by saying, "Happening?" or "Doing?" Sometimes we'll even get a few words into an answer before he gets bored and walks away.

Conversely, I can ask him yes or no questions, and he'll actually answer "yes" or "no." Well, more likely "no," but it's still fun. That's either because the novelty hasn't worn off for me yet, or because I appreciate that when I ask him if he wants a bath or dinner or to go to bed, I'll know in advance whether he's likely to scream when I pick him up to do it anyway.

I suppose it's inevitable that when a child is trying to learn how to talk while living in a house with two people who always call each other "honey," he's going to use that word too. That doesn't stop it from sounding weird when your one-and-a-half-year-old calls you "honey."

He especially does it when he wants something. That means we're often hearing things like "Honey, please, cookie."

We like to give him a snack when he does that, because he is saying "please."

(I know that makes it sound like he must be hopped up on sugar all the time, but to him a "cookie" is anything crunchy and tasty, from crackers to cereal to grapes to…well, cookies. Just like all other fruit is "apple," all vegetables are "peas" and all beverages are "milk," except of course for "Night Train.")

But we're also careful to say, "No, I'm Mommy," or "No, I'm Daddy." Depending largely on which of us is speaking.

If he really wants something, he might say who it's for. As in, "a cookie for the baby." But of course the "please" and the "honey" stay in there, so it comes out sounding like, "Cookie, please, honey baby!"

And then sometimes his mom will remind him that she's not Honey, she's Mommy, and M. Small will modify his approach: "Cookie, please, honey baby mama!"

I'm just waiting for the next inevitable stage in cookie begging:

"Please, honey baby mama! Ike's so sorry, Ike never meant to hurt you, baby darlin'. Please, baby, come back to Ike and give Ike a cookie."

After which there will be nowhere to go but:

"Baby mama, don't make Ike mad, now."

So we're trying to head that off by mellowing his speech patterns a bit. There's one word that he picked up last month, and I honestly can't understand why it took so long, considering how often he hears it. I'm now trying to encourage the use of it whenever possible, even though it never seems to come out quite right. It's just too intense when he says it, like it's taking his full concentration to pronounce the word "DOOD." Which completely defeats the purpose, of course. The lesson won't be completely learned until he can use the word "dude" in all 524 of its meanings. But I'm hoping he'll be able to manage at least three of them by his second birthday.

posted by M. Giant 7:16 PM 8 comments


I just love when wee children come out with the word "dude." Likewise "groovy." And "peace out." Not enough do, alas.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at June 18, 2006 at 6:50 AM  

I called my dad "honey" for the longest time. I don't think my parents ever made an effort to correct me. There's great footage of me at my second birthday when my (scary!) grandfather comes up to me and tries to smother me, and I just stand there in distress yelling, "HOOOOONEY! HOOOOONEY!!"

What I meant to say is . . . he'll grow out of it. But it's funny in the meantime.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at June 18, 2006 at 9:00 AM  

I had an uncle who always gave the thumbs up to his kids when saying "hey dude" to them...to this day they will still announce after hurting a thumb that their "dude" hurts. I'm sure the literary geniuses that you both are-things would never escalate to that. M. will probably be giving medical terms for extremeties long before other children notice they have them!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at June 19, 2006 at 7:44 AM  

When my niece and nephew were little, the phrase "talk to the hand" was being bandied about fairly frequently, so as a joke I taught them to say it; complete with hand gesture, of course (palm out, in the face of the person being told). All very funny, but it got immeasurably funnier the day they both ran up to me yelling "Talk to the hand!" with their hands up in my face, and then proceeded to say "No, talk to it! Talk to the hand!" when I didn't yell "hello" into their outstretched palms.

Good times, good times.

By Blogger Jennaratrix, at June 19, 2006 at 9:39 AM  

I haven't noticed a decrease in the crying since the talking began. But walking into a room and getting a "Dude, What up!" from my three-year-old is a major highlight.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at June 19, 2006 at 9:54 AM  

Thank you - I haven't laughed out loud like that in a long time!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at June 19, 2006 at 4:07 PM  

My daughter is about month and a half older than yours, so when you talk about all of M.Small's activities and new skills, I'm always grinning and remembering when my little one did that, or mentally noting that she hasn't done it yet.

After spending the weekend with relatives that have a large (friendly, well-behaved) dog, she has picked up a few new phrases. Specifically, she is chasing our cat around the house, with her index finger extended, and in a very commanding tone of voice yells, "Sit! Sit! Sit!"

What's even funnier is if she hears "Roll over!", she lays down on the floor and ... rolls over.

It's really kind of cute, but I'm concerned about what it looks like to strangers. :-)

By Anonymous Anonymous, at June 19, 2006 at 8:46 PM  

eek. I meant, a month and a half older than *your child*. I understand that M.Small is a boy.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at June 19, 2006 at 8:50 PM  

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