Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Words

Joe-Henry is such a vocabulary nut that the other day I got really nostalgic for the old days, when his words were new. He had kind of a parallel language to the one we speak, like most babies do, doing his best to match up the sounds he could make with the words he wanted to say. The way he grabbed at language, lustily, giving name to every person, place and thing in his world. The first word he actually communicated (besides mama and daddo) was "Lello", for yellow, which meant "Cheerios". He was babbling from his highchair, and I was absentmindedly saying "yes, sweetie!" in what I'm sure to him was a completely unconvincing impersonation of a mother who actually understood what he was saying. So he very forcefully said, while pointing directly at the BRIGHT YELLOW BOX OF CHEERIOS "LELLO!!!" It was like a lightbulb went off over my head, and I realized that those noises he was making might actually mean something. Something important to him, and perhaps I should try to listen instead of just babbling back. Soon after "lello" came "lalo" which meant "balloon", which he would shout every time we drove past the Union 76 Station with their big orange ball out front.
And from there it was like we were on a waterslide of words, shooting around every hairpin turn at breakneck speed, laughing all the way.

The reason I was thinking about all of this is that he actually mispronounced something yesterday. He hasn't done that in such a long time, and it was so endearing to me, and so embarrassing to him. He asked me when "Memotional Day" was. I stopped in my tracks and the lightbulb went on again over my head, but instead of lighting up new ideas, it was shining a light on all those memories. The memories of my baby, so grown up, but still....

Tonight going to sleep he rubbed his eyes and after a moment said "Mom, is my eye bleeding?" "No." "Whew. I guess it's just my eye grease."

goodnight my little wordsmith. sleep tight.

2 comments:

Lolabola said...

heehee that's cute. I have a student that thinks we are having kuano lessons.

suttonhoo said...

there's something there, too, in the malapropism: "memotional day" when we remember our honored dead.

yep.

kid's a genius.

SO glad I knew him when.