Bye Bye

1 year, 9 months, 3 days old

This week, Arwen has discovered an obsession with the park. Any park. Even the little swing and slide in our garden is a park, and it’s pretty much all she can talk about. It means she’s learnt the words “swing”, “slide” and “bridge” (the wobbly kind you walk over in parks, not the River Kwai type) and she likes to use them all the time to remind you that wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, you should be at a park. She can’t quite manage the “sw” or “sl” sounds yet though, and instead of just going with “s” or one of the other consonants, she has a go at a combination, and the “s”almost always comes out as “h”. So we have “hwings” and “hlide”. It sounds a little like she’s speaking Old English, which makes me love it all the more. What she really doesn’t like at the moment is being told she can’t go to the park, hence yesterday’s conversation:

A: hwings

Me: No, you can’t go on the swing. It’s raining.

A: bum.

Arwen has also come up with a brilliant new conversational tool – when faced with anything she’s finished with, doesn’t want or simply has no interest in, it just gets “bye bye”. And that’s the end of it. She never has to deal with it again. “Arwen, do you want some more banana?” “Bye bye, nana.” “Arwen, shall we put your socks on?” “Bye bye socks.” “Right, you need to go to the toilet.” “Bye bye toilet.” Imagine living your life like that: “Can you stay a bit later to get this work finished?” “Bye bye work.” Then you walk away and never deal with the situation again, because saying “bye bye” to it has made it vanish forever. How has this never been thought of before? How has a child of only 21 months worked out how to make all our lives immeasurably better? We’re raising a genius over here.

Language paragraph alert Another interesting (to me) things that’s been happening recently is Arwen’s learning of adjectives. She picked up “nice” a couple of weeks ago and uses it for anything she enjoys – brushing her feet with a soft brush, putting moisturiser on her nose, going to the park, obviously. This week she’s also used “heavy” a few times when she’s gone to pick things up that are a bit much for her and “slippy” when she walks on the bathroom floor after her bath or shower. She’s also been using “cool”, a word she’s used before but only really when copying us, though now she uses it when she puts her sunglasses on or any other accessory. It’s often accompanied by a thumbs up, only she doesn’t quite get the “thumbs” part of the thumbs up and just sticks her index fingers up instead.

Arwen’s chatting on the toilet shows no sounds of letting up this week as she’s been reeling lists of words off when sitting there. Usually they’re related to each other, other times she’s obviously just running through her thoughts and there’s no way to keep up. But often, if you’re paying attention, you can get the link. This week we’ve had “cat”, “gone”, “yes”, “hat” “chips” “down” “bird” and “frog” in a list, among others. It seems like nonsense, but these are some of the words she likes to pick out when we read Room on the Broom, her current favourite. In my experience when a toddler is speaking it can sound like they’re making no sense, but if you know their interests and really listen, you can usually work it out. It also helps if you’re at the same intellectual level as them, obviously.

She’s also learnt the word “songs” this week, which means she can now demand singing at any moment. She only really likes songs that involve jumping though, so we’ve sung The Pirate Song and Dingle Dangle Scarecrow more times than I could possibly count. And talking of counting, Arwen’s been practising a lot. Some days she can count up to ten with barely a misstep. Whereas on Wednesday, we had, from the top, “three, two, bee, two, bee.” She may have inherited her mum’s skills with numbers. But the world always needs English teachers!

She’s also learnt that brilliant way kids have of being really condescending in just one word. A couple of days ago I was juggling to amuse her. Now I’m a pretty good juggler, if I do say so myself, but I got distracted after I’d been doing it for a while and dropped a ball. Arwen put her head slowly to one side and said “nearly”. And I realised I’m going to spend the rest of my life desperately trying to impress my own child, and being patronised as a result.

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