Saturday, December 16, 2006

His Words

Bub: (as we set the tree skirt under the newly decorated Christmas tree) It’s a blanket! A blanket goes under the Christmas tree! Bub, do you want to lie down under the Christmas tree? Bub, do you want to lie down under the Christmas tree?

Hubby: (complying) Bub, do you want to lie down under the Christmas tree?

Bub: Okay! Time to go to bed. Pie, lie down on the blanket! Nighty night, sleep tight, don’tletthebedbugsbiteI’llseeyouinthemorning! I see a red one! (touching one of the lights) Oh, look! It’s a blue one! (handing me an ornament) Mama, make it to go right there. Mama lie down on a blanket under the Christmas tree! Mama, sing kaycee song!

Me: Kaycee song?

Bub: Okay!

Me: (trying – and failing – to figure out what "kaycee song" could possibly refer to) Do you want me to sing "Jingle Bells"?

Bub: Okay, Jingle Bells!

(I croak out a few lines before realizing that I need professional assistance and put on a jazzy version by the Barenaked Ladies. The song begins with a slow, mellow intro before bursting into the full up-tempo version on the second chorus, complete with "Batman smells, Robin laid an egg" lyrics.)

Bub: (during slow intro) Where’s song?

Me: It’s coming. You have to wait.

Bub: Wait for the song. (cuts a rug when the drums kick in) Daddy sing the song! (grabs a beaded garland that has yet to be put on the tree and drapes it around his shoulders with a mischievous smile) Hatching their wolfish plots and scheming their wolfish schemes. Wolves spilling popcorn all over the floor! (he’s quoting from the extremely scary Neil Gaiman picture book that I had vowed never to read to him, The Wolves in the Walls) Mama, make the schemes to be on? (I help arrange the garland around his shoulders) Schemes. Heh heh. Schemes.

*****

Bub’s words have become a torrent in the last few weeks, tumbling out of him haphazardly, a mix of real communication and echolalic quotations from books and songs. His language use is not exactly typical: instead of asking for things, he often supplies the question he wants us to ask ("Bub, do you want some milk?"). Often, his speech is more monologue than dialogue – he chatters away happily to himself, and I can only pick up phrases here and there. My attempts to enter the conversation are usually welcome – though every so often they are met with a stern, "Mama run away!"

Despite these worries, I’ve taken so much pleasure in this window into Bub’s slightly Alice-in-Wonderland-esque imagination, and I’ve taken even more pleasure in the evident delight with which he handles his newest linguistic tools. He has realized that the word "one" can be used to designate any unknown object ("Try this one!" "It’s a yellow one!") and that the verbs "make" and "be" can be used to fit together any sentence he wishes ("Mama, be all done!" "Daddy, make it to be on."). He is bending his intelligence to the task of solving the puzzle of language; I can’t help but feel optimistic about the results.

26 comments:

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

He sounds like such a joy!

My son talked to himself primarily until he was four or so -- chattering away, just like you say. Not a conversation but a monologue. I found it entertaining, just like you. Never wondered what he was thinking!

owlhaven said...

That is awesome he is getting so expressive!

Mary

kittenpie said...

Hey! Beta seems to have let down the guard and is letting me comment again after days of frustrating attempts! Yay!

Pumpkinpie has a kind of funny thing going on too, where she talks in book dialogue for the things around her. like her ever-present doggy:
"Bark bark, said doggy."
or her hands (known currently as "the lobsters":
"Cookie please, said the lobsters!"

I think I may have read her too many stories...

Mother Bumper said...

The joy it must bring that he wants to include and invite you in his conversations. His monologues sound so interesting and I can't wait to hear more.

nomotherearth said...

Finally hearing words is such a revelation, I find. Putting up the Christmas tree at our house brought a whole new sentence from the Boy: "No like it!" :-)

ewe are here said...

Bub sounds like a lot of fun! I just love it when little ones chatter away to themselves; they really do have their own little worlds.

Kristen said...

I think it's so cute that he says, "Bub do you want some milk?" That is hilarious and sweet. I'm so glad to hear about how he's progressing...

Lisa b said...

Sounds like a great family day.
I find language development so fascinating.
That is such exciting news that bub has turned his attention to figuring out the fun of words.

metro mama said...

What a lovely Christmas present. Joyous.

What sweet relief to be able to comment again!

Jennifer said...

Yay, Bub!!

Beck said...

Language is such a funny thing. My middle guy still speaks in weird little book quotes - especially from "The Tale Of Tom Kitten" (he likes being Samuel Whiskers), and he also messes around accidentally with word order a lot (he drank some of my pop tonight and told me that he didn't "washback" into it. Good to know.) It is so neat to watch kids develop into expressive human beings - one of the loveliest things about motherhood.

Kyla said...

Wonderful! Its great to hear Bub making progress!

Jenifer said...

Don't you just love language development?

Each child has their own "thing" too.

My daughter's also chats to herself on a regular basis, and she talks to Jeff from the Wiggles all the time, he's her imaginary friend.

She also answers every question instinctively with "no" then goes on to answer the question..

As in..
me: "Paige, do you want some chocolate milk?"
Paige: "No, chocolate milk."
me "What color is that crayon?"
Paige: "No, a yellow one"

Also, her newest saying, is "Oh my gosh!" pretty cute coming out of a 2 year old.

Eric said...

Did you write a good post, Bub and Pie?

Mimi said...

Neil Gaiman for everyone! I'm rereading the Sandman books, Pynchon is reading Anansi Boys, and I'm saving up the kid books for Miss Baby ... they're good scary. I'm such a Gaiman fan. I met him once, got him to sign my copy of Angels and Visitations, which has a great, grumpy Xmas/Santa story, if anyone is feeling grinchy ... sigh.

Bub's world sounds like a really cool, happy place ...

bubandpie said...

Mimi - Words cannot even express how much Bub loves The Wolves in the Walls. I'm still nervous that we're going to pay for it later in nightmares, but for now Bub just adores those crafty wolves with their popcorn and their jam... We tried out the other one a couple of nights ago, but it can't compete with the wolves.

Now if only I could figure out what it is about the Christmas garland that makes Bub think of wolfish schemes...

Karianna said...

What a great scene! I can picture it, hear it, and enjoy it. :)

Jill said...

Yay for Bub! But I wonder what the Kaycee song is. Is there a "crazy" song? I'll assume you're not playing Jay-Z for him. Or even K.C. and the Sunshine band. So whatever could it be?

When our 14-year-old was little he once asked for the song about the "histy ride." Turned out he meant Jingle Bells. You know, "Oh what fun a histy ride, a one horse open sleigh."

Aliki2006 said...

His language explosion muct be wonderful to hear--it's wonderful to *read* so I can only imagine what it's like to hear it.

We've never ventured near Wolves in the Walls...but Liam can't sit through a full-length Winnie the Pooh film without feeling anxious, so I think we'll wait until he's well, maybe 16 before we take a look at that book!

Mayberry said...

The learning-to-talk moments are absolutely some of my favorites with my kids. It must be that much more special when you've waited and worried over those words.

DaniGirl said...

How wonderful that he's so verbose now. This post made me smile...

(I had to look up echolalic - thanks for the new word, teach!)

Em said...

I love how you describe Bub as solving the puzzle of language. I feel exactly the same about Georgia - whereas for most children the acquisition of language is innate, for some children it is a conscious learn process ... they learn it almost in the same way that an adult learns a foreign language... the good news being that eventually you can learn to speak a foreign language fluently.

Lovely to catch up :)

Alpha Dogma said...

A round of high fives for Bub. He sounds so sweet!

Slightly off topic: the Omega Man just bought a copy of Barenaked for Christmas. And I neeeeeed to know (because I pursue trivia) who does the spot on Bono impersonation in "Do They Know It's Christmas." Any ideas, B&P or any other BNL fans?

bubandpie said...

Em - Exactly - that's exactly the way I would describe it.

AD - If by "spot on impersonation" you mean "incredibly painful mimicry" then it's Ed, from the band (not Steven Page but the other main singer). Such a great album, though - I'm going to put it on right now.

Alpha Dogma said...

No! Not "incredibly painful mimicry," but accurate and amusing impersonation of the mullet-headed young Bono of my youth!
Ed? Are you sure? I was thinking they'd unshackled Tyler from his drum kit.

bubandpie said...

AD - That would be funny if it were Tyler. It sounds like Ed to me, but I have no actual proof of this.