Bionic Mamas

you're not losing a vagina, you're gaining a son

Watch Your Language Acquisition


One plagiarism case documented, at the cost of two days of my unpaid vacation.  Two to go.  Unless I decide to pursue a couple of sketchy ones I haven’t reported yet….

Meanwhile, back at the phoneme ranch:

After Christmas, we visited Sugar’s family, including her almost-94-year-old grandmother, who wanted to play with the Bean, though she is too stiff to get down on the floor.  She gave him a set of blocks, and at one point, he was playing with them by her chair.  “Give me your toy,” she said.  “Give it to me.”  And the Bean looked at her, squatted down to pick up the nearest one, and put it in her hand.

Guess we’d better work on the cussing.  If you don’t start young, they never learn how to do it properly.

Sugar said this weekend that the Bean was saying Mama in a way that definitely meant me, not just as part of his near ceaseless babble.  I had thought he maybe was, but I hadn’t mentioned it because I didn’t want to sound like…that mom.  But within a day, it became undeniably true. This makes me so melty I almost forgive him for having now, in possession of 6 teeth, completely forgotten how to unlatch from the boob short of just scraping his way off, jaws mostly closed.

It’s possible “mama” also means “muffin.”  We made a batch of pumpkin muffins, because Sugar and I were sick of eating banana bread, which has been the Bean’s obsession this past month.  He liked the muffins, too, but now we are out of them.  So we took the last loaf of banana bread out of the freezer, and he is overjoyed.  I handed him a piece this morning — while talking about it, because as you might suppose, I talk a blue streak — and as he grabbed it, eyes alight, I swear he said, “nana!”

14 thoughts on “Watch Your Language Acquisition

  1. Clever lad.

    One of my first complete sentences, when my parents found me in the garden, having beaten a teeny weeny itsy bitsy spider to butter with a plastic spade, was: ‘GOT the fuckin’ scorpion!’

    My father was the recipient of much Hard Stare from my mother after that. OK, we had a scorpion infestation, but still….

  2. I was just thinking about you the other day and wondering how things were going! I am out of control too, and should also just suck it up and post short posts rather than waffling in silence.

    Love hearing about what the Bean is up to. Sorry about the teeth- E. still just has four and is usually good, but sometimes gets lazy and has a chew, which is HORRIFIC.

    PS. I was the kid who used my Playmobil helicopter to airlift worms to safety when it rained…

    • i, too, was a great worm-rescuer, though not so thorough as to have an infrastructure. i did spend second grade recess building “cricket hospitals” out of pebbles with a friend. a fair number of our patients probably acquired their injuries in collapses of other building projects of ours, i regret to say.

  3. I’m so behind on commenting! First, I didn’t think I could like the Boy even more than I already do, but I love me some banana bread. And pumpkin muffins (had one today, in fact) so he and I can eat together any time. So curious to hear how you found the plagiarist. I once failed half a class I was teaching, some for plagiarism and some because they didn’t know what a sentence was.

    • basically comes down to:

      1. that sure is a weird fuckin’ sentence…boy, it wouldn’t be so weird if 4 of those words were replaced with more common semi-synonyms.

      2. if this student even knew what “decontextualize” means, let alone is capable of using it in a sentence, why is this news to me?

      3. turns out google is really not that hard to use.

  4. I apparently only needed one word to express myself until about the age of two: More.

    According to my mum, my next linguistic development came during a trip to France when I learned ‘s’il vous plait’ and applied it in much the same manner, pointing to whatever food I wanted and repeating said vocabulary until the food became mine.

    The Bean is such a smart wee guy – I bet you could set him to hunt down plagerists before too long!

    • clever girl.

      our young danish friend was also much taken with “more,” and in her bilingual case, it was a particularly valuable syllable: besides its english meaning, she had use of that sound’s danish meaning, which is “mother.”

      given how closely related english and danish are, she may not be the first to have connected those ideas….

  5. (The danish example makes me think of the disturbing Lars von Trier miniseries that features a horrible monster baby that goes around moaning “Moooooooor” a lot: So I hope that’s not Bun Bun’s first word.)

    That sounds so utterly sweet and I just can’t wait for my own little offspring to utter something wordish. She is now really upping the level of babbling, and that alone melts me. Meanwhile, the Bean sounds like an exceptional and delightful creature.

  6. The Bean is a linguistic savant already! We, too, must work on the sailor talk. No time like the present to, um, save it for after she’s asleep.

    Watching a human being acquire milestones purely though her own experimentation and persistence is my favorite thing in life ever. It is amazing.

  7. And now you can’t even shriek “FUCK let go” when he chomps you. Pity.
    I am ashamed to admit that Bug referred to me as “Bamba” for a good month or two before I realized he meant me. In my defense, the nursing mama is always around, and he called a lot of things bamba.

  8. He’s a genius! Congratulations to all.

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