Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Innies and Outies of Interpreting BabyG

BabyG has become an expert at identifying her favorite words in the world around us. She spots miniature cat ornaments nobody else notices and screams: “Baicy! Baicy!” since she calls all cats after our own, Percy. In other people’s homes, she giggles wildly if she comes across a stuffed dog before addressing it: “woof woof!” or if she sees a picture of a cow: “moo! moo! moo!”

If you say, “BabyG, where’s your belly button?” she opens her mouth like you’ve reminded her of the most incredible idea in the world, hitches her dress up and points. “Bay bay!” she croons, hanging slightly on each of the ‘y’s.

In her picture books, she points at babies and says, “baybay.” Faster than a belly button, but the same word.

When she’s on the potty, or she has to go poo, she says, “bay bay,” only this time, the ‘b’s are very slightly sharpened…not quite ‘p’s yet, but on their way.

Finally, there is the word which, when she's in an enunciatory mood, may come out "bye-bye" or "bye" or "bay-bye" – but just as often comes out "bay-bay."

I figure she’s determined to use words to their full potentiality at this tender age. That she wants to reuse, renew and recycle syllables in order demonstrate the innate connection between the words we use and the way we use the world. And I am very proud of her for making such an intelligent stand at such an early age.

The only problem is that sometimes she drops whatever’s in her hands as if she’s been suddenly shocked by something she sees, points her tiny finger, and says, significantly, as if she’s introducing somebody to the queen: “Bay bay!”

And then you have to figure out what she’s pointing at: the potty, a baby, a belly button…or, God forbid, some new thing she’s decided should be signified by her favorite two syllables. Because not only does she want to point it out for her, she wants you to agree that she’s right by looking at whatever it is she’s found, pointing at it yourself and saying, “Yes, BabyG, Bay Bay.”

The other morning she was sitting in her highchair, eating some of her coveted frozen blueberries, when she began frantically pointing at the closed closet door and chirping: “Bay Bay! Bay Bay!”

“No, BabyG, there’s no Bay Bay, there,” I said, when I walked in from the kitchen to see what the commotion was about.

“Bayyy Bayyyy! Bayyyy Bayyyy! Bayyyy bayyyy!” she insisted, making the ‘y’s as distinct as possible.

By this time she was doing her best to jump up and down in her high chair, leaning as far out of it as she could (thank God that Svan is so well balanced). I stared into the door like you do at those 3D stereograms, and noticed she was pointing specifically at the closet’s missing door knob...

Which is, you will note if you take the time to move your mouse over the picture below...

quite clearly, an "innie."


chuck said...

i am *such* a sucker for babyG's close reading practices. this put a smile on my face. i'm ready to go to work, now.

Laura said...

THAT is fantastic. Great post. Thank you.

Haley-O said...

My monkey loves her belly button, too! :) And, I love what you did with that door picture! Nice!

GreenDaddy said...

I just learned a vocabulary word from a colleague that’s pertinent:

omphaloskepsis (om-fuh-lo-SKEP-sis) noun -- Contemplation of one's navel.

[From Greek omphalos (navel) + skepsis (act of looking, examination). Ultimately from the Indo-European root spek- (to observe) which is also the ancestor of suspect, spectrum, bishop (literally, overseer), despise, espionage, telescope, spectator, and spectacles.]

Anonymous said...

tee hee hee. cool picture and fab story.


scribbit said...

What a funny story, gives Baby G quite a colorful personality even without distinct "p"s in the vocab yet :)

Dylan said...

Great story!

I had a friend (a toddler) that also loved her belly button, for security, she'd fondle it when she was nervous. This same youngster was driving with her mom shouting "CAR TOYS" over and over, while poor mom was trying to figure out how her wee daughter knew of such things, and what she was referring to...

Finally, she saw what was being pointed at: A "turquoise" book on the front seat. Just a little reverals of syllables...

I love witnessing the growth of verbal language!