To the uninitiated, the twins’ babble might sounds like…babble. But I tell you, something essential has changed. Slowly, from out of the chatter, language is emerging. The words so far are mostly one-syllable interpretations of the world around them, but the list grows rapidly. For those of you venturing to toddler-land, or at least to our house, I’ve compiled here a Spacemonkey/Common English dictionary. Following are the words M and E, now 18 months, have down pat:
“Ah!” (Hat): Especially fun to say while pointing at head in a questioning way, as in, “Why am I not wearing a hat? Please bring a hat,” then said more and more insistently until said hat appears. We’ve been having many meals wearing hats.
“Awa” (Flower): When I walk in with an orchid bought on sale from Home Depot, E points and says excitedly, “Awa!” “Awa!”
“Ba!” (Ball): Imagine E, holding a red ball, then yelling “BA!” and throwing it down forcefully. Balls are their favorite toy, and “ba!” is definitely their favorite word to say. They point out balls everywhere we go. Ba! Ba!
“Mih” (Milk): I love the way M says this, with her four little beaver-teeth showing in the front when she enunciates the “ee.” E’s interpretation is closer to “mah.”
“Wa” (Water): Thank goodness they can tell me when they’re thirsty. Major life improvement.
“Chzz” (Cheese): Very important to be able to ask for cheese. M is particularly good at this one.
“Bee” (Bird): Said while gesticulating wildly at sparrows chattering in a bush, or recently, M pointing out a hawk overhead, “Bee! Bee!”
“Bee” (Bear): Distinguishable from ‘bee,’ bird, because pointing at a bear.
“Na” (1) (Nose): I love the way E says this, curling up her nose into a very nasal ‘n’ while putting one finger on a nostril, “nnna.”
“Na” (2) (Snow): Said while pointing out the window at snow. Or M, being carried out to the car in a light snow, her face lit up with joy, “Na! Na!” and pointing all around.
“Na” (3) (Snack): Said while making the universal hand sign for ‘more.’ Most often while sitting in stroller, occasionally while staring intently at whatever food you walk into the room eating.
“Ma” and “Da,” (Mom, Dad): M has these down. In addition, E may also be saying “Ma” to refer to M (which is correct). E is also occasionally calling Daddy Ma, though, which makes me wonder if she thinks “Ma” means, “person I love” or “Person in the family”?
“Da” (Duck): I remember when E was pointing to everything and calling it Duck… Now we’re in a different era where we know what a duck is, but there’s no more ‘k.’
“Shz” (Shoes. Not to be confused with “Chzz”).
“Ba-Ba” (Bye -bye): Said while waving goodbye, most often after person has already left the room and can no longer see.
Though maybe not proper words, sounds are definitely a forte. Following a list of sounds:
“VROOM!” (Car): E does this with particular gusto.
“BA BA,” (Sheep): Often E will point at a picture of a sheep, say “ba ba” and then start dancing–she’s waiting for you to start singing “Ba Ba Black Sheep.”
“BA BA” (Chicken, ie “bock bock”)
“WOOF” (Dog): This one was probably both of their first words. They would say “Woo Woo” whenever we’d pass a dog.
‘UH OH!“: This one is a new favorite.
“AAA!” (Lion’s roar)
There are also the occasional moments where we think they are saying multiple words together. Yesterday, E crying and pointing to M who was playing with a ball, saying “Ma ba”…D and I look at each other. Did she just say “My ball?” Or M putting her hands in the air and saying “Pi Uh” (Pick up). Lately M likes putting both her hands in the air palm up, as if to say, “Who knows?” or “How funny is that?” and at the same time she chuckles to herself and babbles as if she’s telling a really funny story. This goes on for a long time sometimes at dinner.
We’ve been told by other parents that when kids learn to speak they can remember things from when they were a year old, before they knew how to talk. What will they say? How will they remember this time?