j4: (toddler)
[personal profile] j4
I was going to do a quick general update on the State of the Img, but it's turned into a long update on her talking. (Those of you who follow me on twitter will have heard lots of the things she says already, but this post is as much for my record as anybody else's.) Updates on other aspects of her life may follow if I get round to writing them...

Img is basically talking all the time now, and the things she says are increasingly coherent. She's constantly telling us what's happening right now — to the extent that she'll say something and then say "Imi's saying [whatever she just said]", or she'll cry about something and then stop to announce mournfully "Imi's crying"). She talks about what's already happened, too, and it's lovely that she can now tell me what she did at nursery (Tuesday: "Imi banged Iris in the face with a teddy!" Thursday: "Mummy, Iris is Imi's best friend"). She doesn't have much sense of time yet, although she's learning the words for relative time, so will sometimes say "today" or "yesterday" about things that happened months ago, like "yesterday Mummy was on the fun run and she ran really fast!" (that was back in May, I think). It's amazing how much she remembers from when she didn't have the language to describe it, too; the other day we were cycling past the end of the road that leads to the church hall where we used to do 'Sing & Sign' classes, and out of the blue Img suddenly announced "Imi used to go to Sing and Sign and we sat on the floor on coloured mats" (so not only did she clearly remember the classes, but she remembered the location too). It makes me wonder how much else she remembers that she doesn't have the words for yet, and whether it's a blessing in disguise that we've forgotten our babyhood by the time we've acquired enough language to describe the prison bars of the cot, the fear that the milk had gone away for good, the unexpected joy of a bright object or a familiar sound.

With talking, of course, comes arguing. (I taught her language, and my profit on it is she knows how to answer back.) There are days when everything she says starts with "No, but" ("No, but Imi wants a biscuit") and we're now getting "actually" as well. (Img: "There's an orange one with a picture of Mr Tumble." Me: "How do you know that? You've never even seen Mr Tumble!" Img: "Imi has, actually.") Sometimes she even gives us reasons for the things she doesn't want to do, such as "Imi doesn't want to go to bed because Imi wants to play for a little while", but "because" is often used a bit haphazardly and the reasoning is usually a bit circular. Sometimes cause and effect is completely backwards ("Imi fell over because Imi hurt her leg") — interesting hearing her try to figure it out.

Oddly, she is still talking about herself mostly in the third person, though we're getting occasional use of "me" and "I" and "mine" and it's correctly used when it does appear (as indeed is the third person grammar). She's very keen to know everybody's name though (often pointing at strangers and loudly saying "Mummy, what's that woman's name called?" on buses etc), and she knows my first name and [livejournal.com profile] addedentry's (and occasionally uses them to address us, which makes us sound like terribly modern parents to anybody who's listening). It still feels odd somehow hearing her address our friends by their first names (though goodness knows what else she'd call them, I'm certainly not expecting her to call our friends "Aunty" or "Uncle", let alone their titles and surnames!) and it still amazes me how well she knows who's who at nursery — not just her fellow toddlers, however unusual their names are, but their parents too: the nursery pickup is an endless litany of "that's Jessica's mummy and daddy", "that's Johannes's daddy", "that's Romaro's mummy" etc — though since I don't know most of them from Adam she could just be bluffing! (She doesn't know the other parents' names but then the nursery staff never use them, probably because they can't remember them.) She also knows her own first name and surname (as well as knowing that we live in Oxford, and on Planet Earth — thanks to the Clangers for the latter!).

Other new developments in her language are that she's started talking to her toys, and even occasionally putting words into their mouths; she's also started telling stories, though they're usually along the lines of "once upon a time there was a mummy and she had a cuddle". Her all-time best story so far though was this amazing horror story: "Once upon a time there was a horrible monster and he had spidery legs and spidery legs and spidery legs and spidery legs and spidery legs and spidery legs and..." she must have said "and spidery legs" about 100 times, while I nearly cried with trying not to laugh. The more I think about it the more hilarious but also terrifying it is. I'm imagining it as a cartoon strip with a little pale face narrating and spidery legs protruding into the frame, slowly filling the successive pictures until it's just a big scribble of spidery legs obscuring the face. SPIDERY LEGS.

Possibly because she's generally such a confident talker for her age, her little mistakes often make me giggle (though of course I don't laugh at her unless she's deliberately being silly/funny with words, which she does more and more — she enjoys talking in silly voices, putting extra letters on the end of words, and inventing words/names e.g. calling me "Mup" and [livejournal.com profile] addedentry "Mep"). "Hostipal" is such a classic toddler transposition that it sounds like she's just putting it on; "Imi doesn't berember" (always uttered in a rather sad tone) is lovely; we hear a lot that she "smatched" things from her friends at nursery or vice versa; "Imi ate a too little much" is an odd one but she's quite attached to it. Other 'mistakes' are actually rather inventive, like when she spoke the words of a song and then said "Imi's not tuning it".

I should also mention her brief and probably-accidental excursion into swearing, when she trotted into our bedroom one morning and announced "Imi wants to fuck the milk". I didn't know where to put myself! She repeated it a couple of times, I said "that's a funny word, what does it mean?" and she started saying "Imi wants to mup the milk" instead, leading me to suspect she was just being silly and making up words, but goodness me, I hope she doesn't come out with anything like that when anybody else is listening. (Though my family still all remember with glee the occasion when, as a toddler, I apparently stood on a chair in a quiet little tea-room and said "Bugger!" very loudly several times; so I guess we have form for that sort of thing.)

As well as talking we get loads and loads of singing; she picks up songs quickly and sings them tunefully enough that strangers can recognise them. Current favourite seems to be the alphabet song, which she can do more or less accurately (though "enemenopee" is definitely all one letter, "y" is always "wide", and "next time won't you sing with me" is something approximating to "next I want to sing with me", i.e. she's got the sound of it but doesn't really get the words). Mostly the singing is lovely, though sometimes it drives me crackers, like when I'm trying to tell [livejournal.com profile] addedentry one short admin thing but literally can't retain a thought in my head to the end of a sentence, much less make myself heard, because of an incessant loud repetition of "Nondon nidge is nalling nown" or "the peels on the pus go pound and pound"...

All in all it's adorable though and I love listening to her talk and sing — which is just as well because as far as I can tell so does she!
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