Thursday, December 06, 2007

Whuds, whuds, whuds

In the morning, Pynchon retrieves Munchkin from her sodden and pee-peed bedding, strips off the wet pyjamas, and wrangles her into a new diaper and the navy blue Roots tracksuit we've come to call her 'morning outfit.' I slowly come to consciousness from my soft, downy nest across the hall and listen to them chat to each other. The next part is the very best: Pynchon brings her into our room, and she shouts "Wake up! Wake up!" and "Mommy! Mommy!" as all 30-some pounds of her drop onto my chest, a big warm toddler snuggle.

We like to roll around in bed all together these mornings. She snuggles her teddy bear and her doudou, and, if we're lucky, her parents. Recently, she has demanded to hold and admire the book I'm reading: The Lynne Truss Treasury is an 800 page monster, three novels and a slew of newspaper columns collected into one very heavy book. There is very little decoration on the cover. It's just a white paperback, with the title in plain text (albeit red foil plain text), and the tiniest, most abstract little doodle of a cat at the bottom. Well, this cat is the apple of Munchkin's eye. "Cat! Cat! Cat! Meow! Hug!" She hugs the book. She wants to look at the illustration on the front and then on the (quite substantial) spine. She hefts that book around on the bed like it was nothing. She has started to riffle through the pages, assuming, in her toddler ego-centrism, that all books are her books. She is puzzled by the utter lack of illustrations, if thrilled by the wind created as she pulls all the pages across her thumb and they whirr in the air.

"Munchkin," I tell her, "There's just words. It's Mama's book. Just words, words, words. Look at the cat on the front!"

Every morning she opens the book, thumbs the pages. "Wuhds, wuhds, wuhds," she repeats sagely, to herself. "Whuds, whuds, whuds," and then, more cheerfully, "Meow!"

Her capacity to learn wuhds-wuhds-wuhds has just exploded again, and Way the Hell Up North, retired elementary and special-needs teacher Gramma maxed out Munchkin's learning curve, with nursery rhymes they chime out in turns.

London Bridge is falling? DOWN!
Falling? DOWN!
Falling? DOWN!
London Bridge is falling? DOWN!
My fair? LADY!

She knows the second verse, too. And all the end-rhymes on Wee Willy Winky and Rub-a-dub-dub.

At home, she has started to answer some questions with more than a simple yes or no or grunt. Who did you play with at daycare, Munchkin? Nathan! What did you have for lunch? Cheese! Would you like to play or go in the tub? Tub! What song would you like me to sing? Roo-lf! [Rudolph!]

Tonight, it transpires that she can chime out all the line-ends and half-lines from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. She chimes in with Reindeer! Nose! Saw it! Glows! Reindeer! Names! Rudolph! Games! Eve! Say! Bright! [To]night! Him! Glee! Reindeer! [His]story! It seems to me like an awful lot of words for an eighteen-month old to sing out in the right order and at the right time--her little leaps and changes, though, always astonish me.

She now knows, in fact, so many words that her father and I no longer understand what she's saying half the time. When her lexicon was more limited, we learned some of her quirkier pronunciations ("Abba!" for a while meant "On your bum!", "Tee-poo" means toothpaste and "Hanto" means elephant). But now she makes conversation in a language foreign to us, but obviously meaningful to her. And suddenly, three days later, we get it.

Wuhds, wuhds, wuhds. I really love this stage. I can teach her language; I can enunciate, I can make rhymes and listen to her, and explain things, and let her explain things to me. What a wonderful time this is turning out to be!



"Cheers, Gramma!" Woe betide you if, returned home, you mistake "Cheers!" for "Cheese!" because, believe me, cheese isn't a word to be deployed lightly around here. That took a couple of days ...

25 comments:

Jenifer said...

Oh my gosh she is a little girl! We have a little - well not so little cheese monster here too. Do not speak the word if you cannot produce the item I say.

I have warned you before about the explosion of words...mark MY WORDS you will utter sometime down the line..."I will give you a loony/chocolate/sticker/Sun Chips if you don't talk for the next minute."

You really will.

alejna said...

Goodness, what a storm of wuhds. And such a cute Munchkin. I love the story of the morning snuggles. That sounds wonderful.

Alpha DogMa said...

"Cheers!" is also v. big with my boys when my 'rents are around. Just mine. If my in-laws are here they get totally confused by my sons explaining "now clink your beerstein against my juice cup." Yeah, my in-laws are teetotalers. And no fun at all.

Glad to see/hear you're back in one piece from the hinterlands.

nomotherearth said...

It is a fun time,isn't it?? Too cute.

Beck said...

I LOOOOVE that sudden explosion of words, where suddenly they go from being a beloved pain in the butt to a COMPANION, someone you can have a conversation with. It's fun.

The baby has been getting into bed with us, too. Sadly, she's been wailing to be tucked in with us in the middle of the night, so my husband and I are like the walking dead.

Mimi said...

Jenifer -- my mom used to hold 25 cent competitions: who could be quiet the longest? Me or my sister? I can guess what's in store for me ... and cheese monster? Ah, the holiday cheese tray is a real sore spot around here lately.

AD -- my inlaws are teetotallers too. Teetotalling missionaries. Who are spending a whole week here at Xmas. With no booze! Ack! A cheers without a boozy clink of ice cubes is just not cheers at all.

Beck -- ouch.

motherbumper said...

Hey - where did she learn to clink glasses so well? Momma?

And I'm with you on the toddler conversations, I love talking with B now that the answers (and questions) are full of WUHDS!

Kyla said...

KayTar toasts and says "No worries!" I have no idea where she picked that up.

At 18 months, Munchkin is already out speaking KayTar with those fancy questions and answers! Very, very cool.

Mimi said...

maybe, kyla, but munchkin can't READ like a certain someone's 'baby' ;-)

Denguy said...

I guess she'll transition easily into reading Shakespeare then.

Kelly Malloy said...

We've got the whuds thing exploding at our house too! He's starting to put words together - his new favorite is "I'm hungry!"

slouching mom said...

i love that picture!

and yes, it IS a great age. i'm not going to forget "whuds" -- that's fabulous!

Karen said...

that stage is like a waterfall of understanding and joy. Have fun with it!

the new girl said...

I can't WAIT for that!

She is precious, really.

I love the 'clinking glasses.'

:)

Bon777 said...

The "Baby" is also 18 months and he still looks like such a baby, not like your big girl. (the baby is still practically bald)

We haven't had our explosion yet (only about 20 words that we can really understand) but he has his own way of letting us know what's on his mind.

Cheese is one of those words that he does know very well.

kittenpie said...

I LOOOOVE the language explosions. The vocab is amazing. Pumpkinpie can finish lines or even pages in all her books and correct me if I make mistakes, on purpose or not. Today she told me that the tree was spiky and prickly. Cool.

Bon said...

your morning sound so much like ours, right down to those bizarre big books that have nary a decent picture in them. Oscar's quite taken with a few of them, but his return to them each morning is like hope springing eternal, only to be crushed by the same boring wordiness.

he can't say "words!" yet though...our explosion is happening, but on a gradual scale. it's gorgeous to watch.

and O likes to "cheers!" too. i really think perhaps we should set up some kinda toddler eharmony playdate for these two...

Mika the cat said...

Meow!!! Mika loves kids! I saw you wrote Cat... :)

Meeow

Lisa said...

Your little "Whud master" is absolutely darling!

crazymumma said...

I predict an early reader.

and nothing like those morning snuggles.

Christine said...

this is one of the greatest times with a little kid. they learn words practically exponentially every day!

Oh, The Joys said...

Whuds!

What fun!

JENN said...

Little Bean is in the middle of forming sentences and loving every minute of it. At her 18 month check-up we had to fill out the usual Denver Assessment. She is already beyond the expectations. I just chalk it up to her being the youngest in her toddler crowd. However, listening to these kids sing their ABC and counting, I can't help but think this next generation is a bunch of Genuis! Don't you?

Crazy Talking Lady said...

Mimi ... I remember when my now nine year old wouldn't stop talking (oh wait ... she is still talking non stop) anyway, I marveled at the development of conversation with her as a toddler ... wuhds are wuhnderful.

The toast with Gramma is too cute ... she looks like she will enjoy a glass of cheer! I am all for teaching them early how to clink ice in their glasses :) great post!

BOSSY said...

That is a cute age - but it's still cute when Gin and Tonic can be found in their sippy cup, so fear not.