Nora’s a talking machine now, pretty much repeating and holding in her tiny brain any and all words she happens by. She withholds her words, locking them away like the treasures they are, when she is commanded to speak or perform, when tricks and tales are solicited from her by parents and grandparents and friends.
Sometimes the combination of words and light flashing in her dark eyes kills me. It makes me want to hold her and hug her and freeze her in the toddler moment that causes her words to be so amazingly innocent and true. The lilt of her voice, the sound of her giggle and the expression of her personality in the silliest and simplest ways makes me appreciate language in a new way each day. What would we be without words?
She says “Otay,” all drawn out and exaggerated. Ken says it reminds him of the exaggerated hello’s on Seinfeld, a word so adorable that it could be easily mocked.
She says she does or does not want to hug people, a clear gauge of her shyness. Usually it is just her being coy, jumping eventually at the chance to hug whoever it is who will shower attention on her.
She declares things are “Your turn,” quickly and loudly announcing the “your”, followed by the drawn out sing-song “turn.” Everything is a game.
She says yogoke instead of yogurt. And now Ken and I do too; she may never get it right and that would be “otay.”
She tells me she loves things and when she says love I hear LOVE, a true understanding of the word.
She shakes her head in the affirmative when she makes a declaration of like or dislike or expresses her desired next task. “I want to paint.” Simple notion with simple head bobs. She is sure of herself.
I teach rhetoric, causing me to see and analyze language differently from most. I’m not sure if everyone would see the tactics and tools of a budding orator in Nora’s first attempts at persuasive speech. But I see them. And they make me infinitely happy.