Wednesday, March 30, 2005


He walks! He talks!

Simon has joined the illustrious ranks of the world's bipeds. I love the new walker's toddle, stumbling around with stiff bowed legs and arms held up and open, ready for the inevitable crash. He's quite good at it now, having gone from his first tentative steps a couple of weeks ago to being able to cross the room and navigate corners and clutter with ease.

I watch him careen off the furniture and plop uncerimoniously onto his butt, and think how much that would hurt if it were me landing with that much force on my ass-end, even with all the padding I'm carrying around these days. Kids are impressively durable! It's the bounce that makes me cringe. I wish I could bounce with impunity, but I fear I would end up with my tailbone somewhere between my ears if I fell on my tucus as often and with as much aplomb as Simon does.

He talks now, too. He's mastered "up", "nite nite", "dog" and "ball". No mama, no dada, but a reasonable stab at "Tistn", which shows me my place in the family heirarchy. He also babbles ferociously, and I would really like to have use of a Babel Fish for just a day or so to know what it is he is going on about. He's probably complaining about my cooking.

A friend of mine who has studied linguistics or anthropology or childhood development or something like that (hey, I can't remember everything) told me that babies are born with the capability to make all the sounds in all human languages, and it is around the age of one year that they begin to whittle out all the sounds they won't need to speak in their mother tongue. Kind of like undifferentiated linguistic stem cells, I think. I guess that's why some days I swear he's spouting off a Wagnerian libretto in gutteral German, other days he sounds like he's being raised in Chinatown and still other days it sounds like he is speaking in that throat-clicking language of the Inuit.

I want to say this is one of my favourite stages of babyness, but then I said that about the age of 4 to 6 months, when they first start to beam at strangers and sit up for themselves, and about the tiny newborn stage when their cries sound more like angry cats than hungry babies. And I love the next stage, where growing vocabularies intersect with a burgeoning awareness of the world.

What is/was your favourite baby stage?