1 February 2013
Theo has had what one might ominously refer to as A Week. I actually had to pull Pete home from work early on Tuesday, since Theo was in the second day of a tooth-related day-long screamfest that was just escalating beyond bearability for either of us. Ibuprofen and the like weren’t making a dent in his discomfort, since the tooth-related pain meant that he’d also stopped eating, drinking, and was ludicrously overtired, which all kind of feed off of each other into a growing snowball of awfulness. Plus, even though he’s been pulling up for something like six months and cruising around furniture for nearly that long, Theo’s been continuing his very cautious approach towards walking by standing independently for a few seconds and then diving for objects on the floor headfirst.
In a house full of bookshelves and other low-lying wooden furniture, this approach is just about as successful as one might expect.
But — even though that damn tooth has had the temerity to still resist cutting through the gum — that particular snowball of awfulness is thawing a bit, so I took him to a library baby hour thing the other day, the essential weirdness of which was effectively overwritten by the need for us both to get out of the house, already. Most of the other kids were between six and eleven months, whereas he’s over 12, which gave me the odd experience of being the mother of the most enormous, well-behaved, chatty, developmentally-advanced kid on the planet (or at least in the room). Not exactly surprising, when you consider that he’s lived twice as long as some of the other attendees.
He’s not actually talking yet, though, even though when he’s feeling fine he babbles a ton. It’s hard to tell how much speech Theo understands, versus how much he intuits from routines and other visual cues; “where’s Garth?” will reliably be met by his looking all over the room, but asking him to turn off a light switch might just work because, you know, I’m holding him next to a light switch. (He is also, I should mention, entirely uninterested in baby sign language, something that I was repeatedly informed while pregnant would infallibly make him smarter, happier, and better-adjusted. I can only assume that, had he glommed on to it, he’d be able to sign away his teething pain by now or something.)
It’s kind of like sharing my home with a pleasant enough guest who speaks only Russian, when I only speak English and some French.
We both syllabize at each other all day long, largely mutually unintelligibly.
“Da ra ra rath?” he’ll inquire while attempting to harass the cat.
“Yup, he’s licking his foot!” I’ll reply.
“Grraaaaaaahhhh!” he’ll croak in anticipatory triumph while attempting to bust into the diaper pail. (“No!” is the only response to this, and is received, predictably, badly.)
“Bap? Bap?” he’ll ask, while he jabs the pictures in his books with an index finger, not waiting for me to name them.
Like any visitors in a foreign land, we manage pretty well with lots of gestures and tone of voice. And in a year or so, I imagine my little foreign tourist and I will have cobbled together our own pidgin language, unintelligible to all outsiders.