Mini turned the big 0-2 at the weekend. By the reckoning of the sometimes humorous, always informative emails from Babycentre, she should have approximately 50-75 words in her burgeoning vocabulary. Of course this is the time line for the development of a “normal” toddler. Mini understands certain commands but doesn’t have anywhere close to that figure. She has 2 spoken words-the charming “bye” which she lavishes on anyone who leaves her presence-much to the amusement of strangers including cashiers and security guards-and the less charismatic “no” which she usually bellows whenever anyone deigns not to acquiesce to her every wish.
Added to her spoken lexicon are about 10 signs using Irish Sign Language which for the most part seem to revolve around food-biscuit, apple, banana, drink, eat. Her favourite things-music, light, bubbles and play round out the growing collection. The signs are by no means perfect but act as a means of communication that is badly needed by both Mini and us. She doesn’t always use them, however, and when this happens she falls back on the most basic form of communicating- screaming at the top of her small but mighty lungs. It’s a frustrating time as we try to interpret her wishes. While friends of ours comment on how life has gotten so much easier in some regards with the advent of language in their little ones, we are left to decipher the half signs and feral cries of our bright but (for now) linguistically challenged child.
I fantasise that somehow, her little brain has decided to abandon the English language and instead opt for the alluring romance of her father’s native tongue, le francais. I dream of her turning to me one day at dinner time and uttering the full phrase, “Mais non maman, je voudrais pas du poulet ce soir, donne-moi le boeuf bourguignon!” Or words to that effect. In truth I just can’t wait to start chatting with Mini. I suspect she’ ll be quite the chatty Cathy once she gets going if her fake phonecalls are anything to go by!