Back in mid-January, William began a big vocabulary explosion — the big word burst that usually hits kids around age 2. It’s still going on; about every other day a new little chirp will pop out of his mouth, and after a few second delay my brain will register it as a real word.
“Dehdee” became “Teddy.”
“Bibbit” is “ribbit” — for a frog
“Dok, dat, doo” = “sock, hat, shoe.”
“Behffee” is “breakfast.”
One of my favorites: “Dawbee” = strawberry.
He’s learning a language that is understood by only about three people! Nice! For a short while, I kept a list of the words he was learning, but I quickly lost track — there were just so many. One of my English profs in college once told me that the majority of first words English-speaking children learn have Anglo-Saxon roots, and I wanted to see evidence of this. Just going by casual observation, I guess it’s true, if you aren’t counting words like “banana.”
This week, however, Wimmy came up with “Pok,” his word for “pocket.”
“Pok!” he yelled, sticking his hands in the pouch on the front of his sweatshirt.
“Pok!” he cried, finding a wrinkle in his pants into which he had placed a “dawbee.”
“Pok!” he said after examining my V-neck shirt — and stuffing his hands down its front.
I corrected him quickly on that one. (Definitely not a pok!) A few hours afterwards, however, I was taking off his clothes for a bath. William bent over to examine his bare tummy, especially his bellybutton.
“Pok!” he exclaimed, sticking his finger inside the little dimple. Well, sure — I guess a bellybutton is a kind of pocket on your belly. A tummypocket! I love it!
(And yes, “pocket” is Anglo-Saxon.)
For futher reading:
Almost Everything by Joelle Jolivet. Word books are kind of a sub-genre of picture books; I don’t know anybody my age who grew up without at least one Richard Scarry “Biggest Word Book Eveh” or somesuch. Jolivet’s work takes the concept to a stylish new level: bright, jewel-toned woodblock illustrations are packed onto super-oversized (18″ high!) pages. There are vehicles, flowers, animals, world costumes, houses, foods — well, almost everything. It’s the kind of book that kids don’t read so much as put on the floor and sprawl over it. Her first book is called Zoo-Ology and is worth seeking out as well.