Baby blog 62 – 2013 Sep 26

27 Sep

‘Ah Gong’. ‘Bitch’. ‘Vagina’.
You put three words together, un-prompted, to laughs all round. Our sniggers have seemingly no affect on your language acquisition – at least quantity-wise – or on your self-esteem. No damage done, we hope.
Here’s a progress report on your communication skills (at 22 months):
Your favourite expressions at present include ‘boobie’, ‘bum’, ‘agina’ (vagina), xi zao (bath), hua hua (draw with chalk or crayons, or play on the iPad), tiao wu, tiao wu (dance), xie xie (thanks), bu yao! (don’t want!), mei you (none, which you use to say something is finished), ‘tian ah!’ (Heavens!) – but you will repeat anything at all, if we say it often enough. Like a sponge, you are!
‘Bitch’ (beach) – the back porch has one clam shell with sand and another with water. You throw a fa feng le (tantrum) when you have to come inside. One of the first words you learnt: ‘Hua’ (flower) – no problems with pronunciation or tone. I’m so proud.  ‘Shou la shou’ (hold hands – for crossing the road.) yi er (one, two, …) – we cannot get you to three. If you see a pair of anything you say yi .. er!
But there is much talk about bums and aginas – it’s excessive, let’s not sugar-coat it. Yes, girls have aginas and boys do not. ‘Ah Po [and] Mummy [have] aginas!’ We say: ‘Ah Gong does not have an agina’, and you look at me thoughtfully. Is it that you can’t express the negative in English? No problem with bu yao! and mei you. ‘Bibi. Agina.’ We say:‘Yes, bibi (in Sydney) has an agina.’
‘Agina. Poo.’ We say:‘NO. You poo from your bum; not from your agina’. I am sitting at the mall when you come up and poke me in the crutch and say ‘wee wee’. (I hope no-one witnesses this little piece of grandpa/grand-daughter time.) It’s all part of your learning.
You say ‘potty’ but you are not keen on using the technology. You prefer to poo in your nappy, standing up. Lately you are seeking privacy for the act of elimination, but you continue to enjoy company for ablutions.
Speaking of poking, you have the finger out to emphasise the word ‘STOP!’ If I tickle you, the index finger comes out and you say ‘Ah Gong … STOP!’ Where did you learn that? Your grandmother calls it the ‘Brett finger’.
‘What do you want to watch?’ we ask. ‘La la’ (your word for Tele Tubbies; La la is one of the characters in Chinese.) ‘Niao niao’ (your word for bird – this means the film Rio. The central character is a blue macaw. ‘Ban ma’ (the Chinese word for zebra – this is a request for the film Madagasca, which features a zebra.)
Everyone around you is now identified by name: Ah Gong, Ah Po, Nai nai (your great grandmother May), Nana and Poppa (great grandmother and great grandfather Edwards), Bi bi (Pippa), Wu wu – a corruption of shu shu means ‘Uncle’ (Chris). Your jiu jiu (mother’s brother) is Moresby, and your jiu ma is Hilde – but you don’t get much practice at present, as they are in London. ‘Daddy’ is a little toy man knitted by Sue Goode, as well as the real thing you see every couple of days on Skype.
You know your animals, mainly in Chinese: ma (horse), xiao gou gou (dog), mao (cat), niao niao (bird), shizi (lion), and hudie (butterfly).
When your favourite show comes to an end you say ‘OH NO!’ … ‘agin, agin, agin’. We are encouraging you to say ‘zai lai’ instead of ‘again’, but you go back to ‘agin’ unless prompted with the Chinese.
Once you have a word down, it is hard to shake. Your mother has always said xiangzao for ‘soap’, but somehow you picked up the English word ‘soap’, so you refuse to say the Chinese. On the other hand we often prompt you to ‘say Thank-you’, but you always say xie xie in lovely accented Chinese. (Very polite). Your mother never encouraged ‘Mummy’ – but that is your adopted name for her.
Some of your food references are in Chinese: xiang jiao (banana), ji dan (egg), and bing gan (biscuit). You know your xi gua (watermelon) and huang gua (cucumber), but you say ‘olive’ rather than gan lan, (also) ‘bitty’ for biscuit, and ‘bottle’. Every meal is ‘dinner’.
You have started to come out with stuff that we imagine to be sentences. Sometimes you rattle on for minutes at a time … we have no idea what you’re saying. And did I mention that you talk to yourself? Even when I am in the room with you, you will look the other direction and offer an imaginary friend some cheese.
Your comprehension is way ahead of your speaking – you understand Chinese and English equally well. Mostly you understand what we are saying in either Chinese or English. ‘Huan niao bu! ([let’s] change your nappy) and you lie down, or even fetch a clean nappy. ‘Chuan yi fu’ ([let’s] get you dressed.) You hear ‘shua ya’ and you know that it is time to clean your teeth. ‘Wan an!’ (goodnight!) and you run away crying.
You are growing longer and stronger by the day and I’m guessing you weigh fifteen kilos. Still sturdy. I’d like to say ‘gorgeous’ but we have to keep balance here – this post is mainly about your mind.
You walk almost everywhere, unless we make a trip in a borrowed car (thank you: John and Wendy). The hills around Red Hill ensure that we all enjoy plenty of exercise.
Yes – we are back in Australia. Brisbane. In our place in Kent Street, Red Hill. Your dad is still in London, working, but he is arriving for a visit in three weeks.

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