The thing about language is, it’s a great tool for getting what you want. And this is never more obvious than when you witness the transition from baby to child. Those early babbles and screeches turning into recognisable sounds and then eventually into the first precious words that as a mum or dad you just want to remember forever.
My little girl, like most I’m sure, focused on the things that she wanted and the people that she knew would get them for her. ‘Mummy’, ‘Daddy’, ‘cat’, ‘toast’. She’s now at the point where she’s got a lot of words mastered or on the way, and most of the time even if the words aren’t all clear, the meaning of what she wants definitely is!
One of the early surprises was her first colour word. Orange. It’s not one that you’d normally expect to be at the top of the list. But then perhaps the application of the word to colour was incidental to the fact it was also the name of a fruit. And if there is one guarantee in our household, it is that fruit will never be refused!
Since learning to climb onto the kitchen chairs, the fruit bowl is no longer safe. When she spots that the kitchen safety-gate has ill-advisedly been left open, she will snatch the opportunity to go hurtling past me shouting ‘jaajuu, jaajuu, jaajuu!’, making a mad scramble up on to the chairs in an attempt to grab an orange before I can swoop through, seize the contraband, and hustle her back out of the kitchen.
Or that’s what she used to do. These days she has become more tactical, obviously having realised her error in sending out a very audible battle cry. So now I’ll be washing the dishes or preparing lunch or whatever, checking on her every couple of minutes in the playroom, playing happily. And then before I know it there’s a slight scraping sound and I turn round to find her on her way back down from her efforts at scaling the kitchen chair and table. Her stolen prize tightly clutched in both hands, already minus a big mouth-shaped hole in the skin, and her happily saying ‘Ojuu’ as she gets to the good stuff inside.
This move from ‘jaajuu’ to ‘ojuu’ is very new. Only this past few days. It’s a strange feeling because I feel pride and happiness for her that her command of language and expression is so obviously growing. But I also feel really quite wistful, that her first properly baby word has been outgrown and replaced.
I know there will be other cute words and phrases to come. It is just an unavoidable truth that kids really do say the cutest things. But in a way I hope that ‘ojuu’ sticks around for a while and is not the final stepping stone before ‘orange’. I’m enjoying experiencing her growing language skills too much, and besides, she gets the orange by hook or crook, whether she says the right word or not!
In the meanwhile she just keeps on practising. Pointing and saying ‘ojuu’ when she sees a sunset, ‘ojuu’ when she is playing with a box of beads and buttons and finds an orange one she likes, ‘ojuu’ when she sees something orange on the page of a book. It’s no wonder they learn so much so quickly at this age really is it? Wondrous, cheeky, fruit-thieving little human sponges!
A little snapshot in time and my take on this week’s WordPress weekly photo challenge: orange. For more takes on orange, take a peek here.