Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The parrot and the banshee

Chloë is a regular parrot these days. She still can't say S or R or L or TH or W or F, but she's evidently gained enough of a grasp on language that she's able to start repeating what we say--so when I say to her, "You like playing in water, don't you, sweetie?" she says back, "Water don't you sweetie?" Or rather, "Howah doh hoo teevie?" I would love to know how she decides what consonants to substitute when. Why does "there" become "bear" and "that" become "dat"?

"Maia Maia Maia" is a frequent refrain these days. She hangs on my legs while I'm nursing Maia and pats her sister's head, or kisses it, or points at her long, slender fingers and says knowledgeably, "Tingah." She's also started pointing at random things and saying "Maia!" so that I'll correct her with "That's not Maia, that's Mama!" or "That's the couch!" or "That's the Boppy!" She's not excited about my unavailability when I'm behind the Boppy (for that matter, neither am I), but she's dealing with it pretty well. She delights in taking diapers to the trash for us--usually saying "Baby diaper?" when accepting one, and calling "Diaper in garbage!" as she runs back. She's up to four-word sentences on occasion. Her aunt says she misses this stage in her own daughter, and I can see why. It's so interesting to hear Chloë's thoughts coming out as speech. I wonder whether having words to put her thoughts into speeds them up or slows them down.

Maia, on the other hand, is mostly pretty quiet. This is not, happily, due to unnatural sleepiness such as Chloë had when she was this age, just that she hasn't fussed much except when she's had an exceptionally yucky diaper or when we haven't attended to her nutritional needs immediately. Kid loves to eat. At her checkup it turned out she'd gained seven ounces in five days. She generally falls asleep about every ten minutes of a feeding, and a full forty-minute feeding lasts her a little under two hours unless she has a sound nap, so if I didn't wake her up she'd be eating pretty much, oh, constantly.

She has had a few opportunities to exercise her lungs, though. She cried herself to sleep, or maybe to resignation, on the way home from her checkup because I just didn't want to sit in the pediatrician's for an extra hour to nurse her. And the other day Eric was trying to soothe her while I finished something up--or just sulked at the prospect of yet another feeding an hour and a half after the last, I forget which--and her cries turned to what sounded like actual screams. All was forgiven once we were settled and the R.I.N.D.S. was in place, but I was fairly alarmed. I never heard this before. Her cries don't sound like Chloë's did, either. I can't say I remember exactly how Chloë sounded, but this wasn't it. Maia has this burst of particularly demanding vocalization in the middle of every cry that Chloë didn't. I'm having this feeling that it's a good thing Chloë is the oldest, because otherwise Maia might run her right over.

No comments: