Friday, September 28, 2007

Run, kitty, run!

Poor Crazy Kitty, our long-suffering, beleagered tabby. Not only do we largely ignore her since Munchkin's been born, we also lock her in the basement at night to keep her from meowing us all awake at 2am. And now, worst of all, the hairless cat replacement has become mobile and cat-obsessed. How cat obsessed? Well, the other morning, Pynchon and I were awakened to the sound of soft meowing. Coming from Munchkin's room and, in fact, emanating from Munchkin herself. Pulling into the driveway after daycare, Munchkin shouts out, as I have laboriously taught her, "HOME!" and then, unprompted and unschooled, points to the kitchen window level with her carseat and asks, "Cat?" because, once, when we pulled into the driveway she looked out her window and found herself face to face with PCK who was sunning herself there.

Munchkin's love for PCK is passionate: intense, and a little violent. The cat is subjected to rough pawings and much tail-pulling. Her feet are grabbed. She is chased. But the 'C' in PCK stands for 'crazy' largely because our cat lacks an instinct for self-preservation. She never evades Munchkin by more than two feet, and thus foils us in our parental attempts to avoid violence by separating the amorous baby from her much-mauled object of affection. The much-mauled object of affection simply will not take the opportunities for escape we so assiduously try to provide her with.

Now, Pynchon and I are reduced to forcibly holding back Munchkin, often in mid-lunge and apprehended by the chest, and hollering at the cat in increasingly frustrated tones, "RUN, KITTY!!! RUN!!"

Proving the law of unintended consequence, the only party to learn anything from this much-repeated practice is Munchkin, who has come to understand that the proper greeting to offer a cat upon whom you are about to pounce is, "Run! Kitty! Run!" And so that's what she shouts, as soon as she sees the cat, as soon as she is up on her feet about to give chase. The house rings with frantic feline mewlings and gleeful toddler warnings. Run, kitty, run.

We are noticing that Munchkin is absorbing language like a sponge lately. She has always really understood a lot of what we say to her. What is surprising is that it is, all of a sudden, coming back out.

In addition to the quite useful "run, kitty, run" phrase, this week Munchkin has learned: "lap" (while patting your leg), "shoe", "sleep", "nap" (while pretending to undertake said activity on the floor), Coco (her bear), "doudou", "milk", "bottle", "nipple" (in reference to her own, not the bottle's), "more" (accompanied by the sign, learned at daycare), and "please" (ditto). Her old standard, "up?", is of course still very much in use. More often than not, if you say a word and ask her to repeat it, she will. This is new.

Once more, I look at my Munchkin as though she is an alien being dropped into my house. When did my little lump of hair and hugs and hunger and grunts become a creature of language? This is one of those milestones, again, that kind of snuck up on me. When did her four or five spoken words suddenly become twenty? Suddenly become greater than my capacity to list? And, most surprising of all: the last couple of days, we're pretty sure she's calling me by name: mamammmaaaammmmaaaaamamama. Wow.

12 comments:

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

Oh, that's the funniest thing I've heard all day: Munchkin shouting "Run kitty run!" Pleeeeease make a video of that one!

crazymumma said...

It's the beginning of the end! They never stop talking once they start, but away form them for an hour and I miss their voices terribly!

Remember that movie Run Lola Run. Haha. I see your version shown to us in the near future...

Mimi said...

Jennifer: I'm trying, believe me. And when I do, it's going in a post for sure. :-)

Jenifer said...

That is a video I would love to see! Language development is a little startling since you wish for it for so long, you want to hear those words of love and to be able to understand what is wrong. There is no way though to prepare for when it happens.

A lovely glimpse into Munchkin's world.

Omaha Mama said...

What made me feel like a mom more than anything else? Being called it. Mama.

Love it.

Kyla said...

Awesome. I remember the first time KayTar called me Mama. We were in a Hallmark store. It seemed perfect. LOL.

And the language explosion, isn't it amazing? Wow.

Alpha DogMa said...

That's funny. Run Kitty Run!

Boy#2 learned to say mama on Father's Day. HAHAHAHA!

My parents got a cat when I was 2. He died when I was 15 - and held a grunge all those years for my poor treatment during the toddler years.

Poor Kitty, gonna be loved to death by Munchkin.

bubandpie said...

I really can't wait until she's out on a walk and greet some pleasant tabby with the urgent instructions, "Run, kitty, run!"

slouching mom said...

"Run, kitty, run!"

I am DYING over here. That is a riot.

And your poor cat, with no instinct for self-preservation.

But Munchkin calling you mama! That is a milestone, for sure.

Beck said...

Oh, poor stupid kitty. WE have one of those here (the other one is also stupid but spends all day hiding and thus avoids the children) - I remember once rescuing her from The Toddler Girl, who was hauling her down the hallway by her tail.
Poor, poor kitty.

moosh in indy. said...

Those sweet strains of MAMA are soon going to be "Mama, you my bitch."

kittenpie said...

I so love the start of language.

Ours has now progressed to clucking at the cat to call her and alternately goes to her softly calling and gives lovely pats or delights in chasing her. Gah. I keep telling her if you want the cat to hold still for pats, you can't chase her.