Thursday, September 13, 2007

No means no . . . and yes.

The bub is not a big talker. Well, correction, he talks a lot but much of what he says is incomprehensible. He has roughly a dozen or so words that he pronounces (somewhat) clearly and uses (somewhat) correctly in context.

What does the doggy say? “Woof woof.” What does the duck say? “Quack. Quack.” We are coming along with cat, pig, and cow noises. All in good time. He is also fairly consistent with “mama” and “dada.” He also says “mom,” which is reserved for more urgent situations and roughly translates into something like “Gimme, gimme. Help me now. Pay attention to the bub.” Over the past month or so, he has latched on to “uh-oh.” Chicken tenders end up on the floor? “Uh-oh.” Never mind that he threw them there. No more fruit snacks? Empty juice box? “Uh-oh.” Goldfish crackers crushed into the rug? “Uh-oh.” The “uh-oh” is usually accompanied by an adorable gesture wherein he puts both hands up, palms up, in that universal gesture that indicates “What happened? Don’t look at me.”

Though the bub’s vocabulary is less than expansive, he does have some charming ways of letting us know what he wants and needs. He does not hesitate to grab someone’s hand and lead him/her straight to the coloring table or the basement door. For reasons I cannot explain, he is still a fan of Gerber baby food peas. If he is hungry, he lets us know by walking to the drawer where they are stored and bringing them over. When he wants to watch Barney (and yes, he loves Barney, a phenomenon that deserves its own post), he grabs the remote and starts stomping his foot. NTB, but he has his own dance that he does during the opening credits of Barney that is pretty darn adorable. Jiggling on the bathroom door means “I want to go play in the toilet and/or wash my hands for twenty minutes while mom holds me up to the sink.”

As a nice bonus, he seems to understand what we want as well. If we hand him a dirty diaper (rolled up, of course) and say, “Throw the diaper in the garbage,” he does it with a smile. If we say, “It’s time to brush your teeth,” he reports to the spot where his toothbruth is stored. If we say, “Time for night night,” he accepts his sippy cup of milk and heads to the child gate by the stairs.

Do we wish the bub could say more? Sure, but I would not say we are worried. We talk to him. We read to him. Yes, he watches television, but not so much that we could be accused of being neglectful parents. Everyone says, “He’s a boy. It takes boys longer to talk.” I don’t know if that’s true or not. Apparently though, the bub’s dad said little else but “rup,” “nope,” and “juice” for the first two years of his life. He's turned out just fine.

Yesterday I got a taste of just how our life will change as the bub’s vocabulary expands. As I wrestled the bub into clothes and a clean diaper in preparation for a trip to the park, I said, “Let’s put your shoes on.” And what did I hear . . . “No.” Not angry, not defiant, but quite clear. I temporarily gave up on the shoes and said, “Let’s go downstairs.” The response once again . . . “No.”

Today, the bub said almost nothing but “no.” Can daddy have his blackberry back? “No.” Come here so mommy can change your diaper. “No.” No more flushing. “No.” There were also “no’s” that left us scratching our heads. Do you want yogurt? “No.” Do you want more ketchup? “No.” And, as a test case, Do you want to watch Barney? “No.”

So now, “no” means “no,” but “no” apparently also means “yes.”



Anonymous said...

Just when you figure out what "no" really means, he will have moved on to the next hard to decipher phase of being a toddler. As much as possible, enjoy the journey.

Action said...

If you are lucky, you will fall into the tempting habit that my sister did when her baby boy was slow to chat: over-articulation. By stressing each letter of “pig”, my sister would say it in such a way that my nephew would hear “pig-ah”. The next thing you know, the little blond, blue-eyed Irish/Polish toddler had an Italian accent. “Mama! I bring-ah ‘da cake-ah to the beach-ah?” Someone give that boy a cannoli.

Anonymous said...

What a cute story! As always, you write it so well. ---rita

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