Friday, July 2, 2010


I just love witnessing the dink learning how to talk. It’s so funny to note the words that he takes care to say perfectly (Elmo, juice, yucky) versus the words that he haphazardly throws out in a close-but-nowhere-near-correct collection of syllables (beece[beads]/wowa[flower]/koss[cars]). I don’t know if there’s really a hierarchy in his mind, or if a speech expert would explain to me that some consonant/vowel sounds are trickier for virgin tongues than others. Either way, it’s endless entertainment. His intonation is most amusing. He uses the highest-pitched, questioning tone to say things like “no” when I ask him if he’s ready for bed, “more” when he wants not only more of something, but something for the first time, or to do something again…and of course the ever-persistent “hey, kitty, kitty” that reaches sky-high levels of pitch.

And then there’s the seemingly mindless babble that you realize is actually very serious discourse when he approaches you with his brows furrowed and a questioning look in his eyes and speaks about four sentences of totally unintelligible language, the last one always ending in a question. In the end, I 1) feel like a moron for not being able to answer him back appropriately, and 2) feel really sad that I can’t answer him back appropriately.

I do celebrate the occasional triumph when I finally understand what he’s been trying to say for while, making the connection between the random syllables and the actual object or action he’s referring to. For some, it’s like, Of course that’s what he was saying! But then there are some “words” that I’m embarrassed to even admit that I understand because they are so far off-base…

Dink language:
Ah-poo=open (cute)
Beyops=blocks (weird, but reasonable)
Gersh=fish (really funny to hear him say, but still an honest mistake)
Lum-lum=water (extremely embarrassing to admit to his daycare providers and even strangers)

And then there are those words that he refuses to say, preferring instead to use hand signals and sounds—the way he first learned them. So when we look on the “E” page of his alphabet book, and I point to “egg” and “envelope”, the dink attempts to say each, but when we get to “elephant,” he simply raises his right arm (trunk) in the air, and makes a high-pitched “brrrr” sound with his lips, because he learned when he was 12 months old that that’s what noise elephants make.

Lately, my favorite thing to hear him say is “hey” first thing in the morning, when I open his bedroom door, and he’s sitting up in his crib in the dark, holding Elmo and Lovey or both, and even if he was in mid-scream trying to get me to hurry to his room, he immediately changes gears, switches his voice to a soft, southern, sing-song manner, and tells me “hey” just like I would say to J when he walks in from work in the evening. But I can’t complain about that one—it’s a really nice way to start the day.