It started last week with Bye-bye, Dada. Two words together. Not one word repeated sixteen times followed by a quick breath and a new thought and another word, also repeated, as in Mama! Mama! Mama! Up! Up! Up!, but a little phrase. A first sentence. A combination of thoughts.
And now it goes on all day. Big truck. Hi, truck! No-no, Kona. Throw ball. Eat ball. Golf ball. Golf club. Down there. Upstairs. Downstairs. Go Bears! Bear Down! Car fast. Night-night, doggie. Bye-bye, foo-foo.
(“Foo-foo” is his word for smoothie and, oh, does he say it with such love and longing. I know you’re not supposed to repeat baby talk, but how can I not call smoothies “foo-foos” forevermore?)
As a reader, a writer and a talker, I am fascinated by language development and verbal milestones. What’s funny is that I’m kind of oblivious when it comes to other important areas, like fine motor skills and spatial reasoning. I mean, I guess I’d figure it out eventually if one of my kids wasn’t on par in those areas, but I don’t have the same kind of awareness and appreciation that I do with language.
It’s also funny to me that I forget each stage of talking until I find myself in it for the second time. At three and a half, Girl Powers talks almost like an adult (okay, maybe like a poorly educated adult whose first language is Albanian, but still), and even though it cannot be so, it seems as if she always has. I forget what she sounded like at two, and two and a half, and even three.
Where will their words take them? What doors will open because they have learned to communicate well? What friendships will begin and end because of words well, or poorly, chosen?
I don’t know. What I do know is that two words, together, are the beginning of a conversation. And I’m listening, my sweet boy. I’m listening.