Tronk (the worst possible baby nickname dad could pick!) was born and from the moment he started looking at me he was communicating. He then started telling me how happy he was through his "eh-eh-eh-eh" (the lamb's sounds) - now only used when he sees the playground swing!. Then through his "hihi hihi hihi hihi" ("gigetto/panting" sounds) - which now he only makes when dad does something silly to him like stealing his pacifier to put it in his own mouth. Tronk quickly learned how to tell me whether he was just annoyed or in pain (same sound, more decibels).
Now (at 21 month and a half), Tronk has started using words to talk to me but he does it in a strange way. He is constantly trying to imitate what I say, to point at what he sees, to try to give it a name and to count the things he sees. The end result:
He constantly echoes what I say. At times I feel as *I* am echoing him! Yesterday, as soon as he saw the stroller falling down in the park, he said: "oh noooo! oh noooo!" just before I said: "oh noooo! oh noooo!" I swear, I did not mean to blandly repeat what my baby said! I was about to clarify to the woman who was standing next to me.
The other day I heard him repeating "sexy! sexy! sexy!". I wonder who said that to him! I can only think that this has something to do with what happened the day before at the Wholefoods meat counter. Naima, Tronk's little girlfriend, who was sat next to him in the store cart, while the two moms were chatting, repeatedly kissed Tronk on the mouth! Somebody must have said "sexy!". See how fast these kids learn from you?
In his attempts to communicate, there are often missing letters and wrong endings (you can watch a live demo here), a conflict between languages and counting. The end result is the ultimate in cuteness:
Me: "dai, lancia la palla" (meaning: come on, throw the ball)
William: "Mi Pa Mi Pa Pa?" (meaning: la palla e' mia, the ball is mine)
Me: "dai, William!"
William: "Hi? Hi?" to my Italian parents, who can't speak English
Me: "Not Hi, Ciao nonni!"
William: "Due Nonni!:
Me: "Bravo William!"
Our babysitter - today Tronk started calling her "zia Pina" (aunt Pina)! - I can't tell how happy this made her feel - recently tried to teach him how to count. He has become obsessed with it. The only problem is that to him, for now, anything which is more than one is "due" (meaning: two). So he ends up calling almost everything he points at "due". He says "due tutu' (meaning: the three cars or trucks under the chair), due brum brum (meaning: all the cars in the car park)", "due dada' (meaning: mom and dad)", "due acqua" (meaning: I've already had water but I want to mess with you), "du pa'!" (Meaning: two balls! I have had enough!). Ok, I confess, he must have heard that from me.
But recently, he started using words to give me orders and I feel I am slowly becoming his loyal servant. No kidding.
"Mamma? Acqua! Acqua! (meaning: mom, give me water)". Problem: he asks me the same thing over and over again. I show him a missing piece of one of his puzzles after he has been drinking enough water to turn him into a camel and he goes: "Acqua! Acqua!". I give him the lion from his farm zoo play-set and while he is playing with it he says: "Acqua? Acqua?". He says the same thing if I put him in the bath tub while I am dripping water on his belly! Each time, the same thing happens: I pass the water bottle to him. He says "Yeah!, then he throws the bottle in the floor. No ma dico little guy, are you taking the piss?
"Mani! Mani! (meaning: I want to wash my hands!)", another Tronk like request. He asks me to wash his hands over and over again. Not when I am changing him in the bathroom but when I am in the middle of cleaning the fish that needs putting in the pan before the olive oil turns into bad fumes. How can I say no? How can I say no to: "Ciuccio? Ciuccio?", when he is looking for it in bed? And what should I say when he says "Uiva? Uiva? (meaning: give me olives) at 7:00 in the morning?
Then there is "pitta". Everything that has a "slight pizza look", in Tronk's world is called "pitta" and it is the only food he would eat in one big bite. Don't you dare telling him a different name when you are feeding him something that looks like "pitta". If it's called "pitta", he will be done with it in minutes!
Seriously, I am glad he is finally learning to communicate. Despite the problem of having to deal with his difficult and sometimes strange requests, and my discovery that as a parent I cannot always tell the truth, unless I am prepared to give him a whole loaf of bread for lunch, I have begun to see my baby become a little person, with his own likes, his own personality. And I love it.
The other day we were at the playspace at the children's museum. Tronk was happy playing with the tiny wooden train wagons at the trains tracks. Then he saw a shopping cart. He literally jumped on the girl who was about to play with it and stole it from her. That girl, who was way older than Tronk, was NOT happy. I could tell. Few minutes later she took her revenge. I did not see exactly what happened as Tronk had just got into the room next to the one we were in. Luckily, nobody got hurt. All I know is that, all of a sudden, Tronk was crying furiously. I went to pick him up and asked him what happened. He pointed at that one girl, who was not far from him, and screamed as clearly as he could: "Bimba! Bimba!" (meaning: that bitch!).
So I have started to think that when it comes to communicating, Tronk has got the power!