No, I’m not talking about the nauseating “goo goo gaa gaa” of well-meaning but ultimately clueless adults who think that imitating baby sounds is going to amuse the baby. I’m talking about that great period when the baby is around two years old and just starting to have the vocal control and interest in imitating the words everyone else are using.
Parents know exactly what I mean, and there’s really no sweeter music than having your child run up to you excitedly and say “Daddy!” (or “Mommy!”) as if your walking in the door is the equivalent of them winning some fifty million dollar lottery jackpot!
Our daughter K- is 20 months old right now, and she’s deep in the thick of cute baby talk right now, to all of our great amusement. In fact, we’re moving into the second phase of baby talk: three months ago a baby was “deedee” and now, thanks to our older children correcting her, it’s “bay-bee”.
What’s really interesting to notice is that in addition to “Mommy” and “Daddy” (of course), K- also has her general purpose “mama-dada” word that works regardless of which parent she’s talking with. And she uses it with some frequency, like “mama-dada, dee! dee!” (which means ‘water’, we’ve figured out)
She’s also mastered “thank you” and that’s another chart buster in the cute department. I’ll give her a cookie and she’ll look soulfully up at me and say “thank you, Daddy” in the sweetest little voice.
Not to sound too geeky, but from an intellectual perspective, there’s really no more fascinating period in a child’s life than when they’re acquiring language. It’s a great chance to see what words are most important, what are easiest to say, and how surprisingly effective gestures and intonation can be when you can only use two or three phonemes to convey your message.
Oh, and funny faces are the rage too, with “meanie-baby” our favorite right now. K- juts out her jaw, showing just her lower teeth between her lips, frowns, and stomps around. Of course, it only lasts about 20 seconds until she collapses into a fit of giggles (muchly because the rest of us are laughing at how cute she is).
Enough blogging for now. I think I’ll go play…