She had me at da-da

Look at the baa-ba

Like father, like daughter, Gabrielle is a talker. Of course, 99 percent of what she says is nonsense (as compared to 60 percent for dad, just ask mom), but she is slowly getting her tongue around our batty English language.

A few weeks ago I offered a brief list of her decipherable diction. She’s since added to it. Here are her latest nouns, as spoken in Gabbinease.

Baa-ba: The first sign of her limited self-awareness. She’s a baby. She says it whenever she wants to see the baa-ba photos on our computer, including the one of her used as wallpaper.

Thi-ther: First spoken on her birthday, the utterance made her sister proud.

Baa-oon: We kept all the plastic balls of air left over from her birthday party. I then showed her how, if you put a balloon against your open mouth and yell into it, you sound suddenly louder. Mom has yet to forgive me.

Bah: Her expanding “B” vocabulary includes ball. get that ball from the dao She’s especially active with the word when we’re outside with my tennisball obsessed dog, Penny. Gabby grabs one and tries to throw it for the dog, but has yet to send it any further than three inches from where she found it. It irritates the smack out of Penny.

Buk: She continually amazes me with her sudden interest in books. We attempted reading bedtime stories months ago, but tired of protecting instead of reading pages. Then one day, something clicked. She became obsessed by them. Her favorite is Baby Einstein’s “Neighborhood Animals.” It’s been read to her multiple times daily for at least three weeks. It has led her to learn …

At: That’s the ball of fur usually sleeping outside the living room window. She can’t quite get the “ca” sound going, but she knows a cat when she sees it.

Mao: My dad was surprised she knew this one. He read the BE book to her. When he arrived at the photo of the mouse she said “mao” and pointed to it. My dad quickly replied, “That’s a dumb mouse,” to which Gabby echoed “dum mao.”

Duk: She says it like a thick-tongued quarterback under center calling plays – Duk! Duk! Dike! Of course, she means duck.

Munk: Another surprising word from another BE book. I think it’s her new favorite animal – monkey. Momma recently took her to a zoo exhibit at the local library, and a monkey was there. A few days later she received as a birthday gift the book “Five Little Monkeys.” Ask her to get the monkey book and she retrieves it. She likes to kiss their pictures.

(Quick story from the mini-zoo – at one point the instructor pointed to some random furry rodent (I forget what it was) and asked the kids in attendance what they thought it was. A few offered guesses, but were incorrect. The crowd was silent as she asked again if anyone knew the animal. Gabrielle suddenly pointed and loudly said – “Dao!” That attracted some laughs. As I’ve said, if it’s furry it’s a dog.)

Gabrielle has also learned to react to a couple of key phrases. She responds to them much like a trained puppy would, which makes it all the more adorable.

how sweet

Take a nap or Go nite-nite: She immediately responds by bending down and laying her head on the floor. She won’t close her eyes. Instead she just looks at you and smiles, much like the photo to the left.

Give so-and-so some love: Similar to “take a nap,” only she lays her head on your lap or, if you’re a dog, on your side.

Blow them a kiss: A fan favorite at church, on command she high-fives herself in the mouth and make a *smooch* noise. Only occasionally will she then throw it your way.

Leave the paciey/blanket in the crib: Momma taught her this one. After picking her up from inside the crib, momma says the preceding and Gabby obeys. She holds her blanket out and drops it, then takes her paciey out of her mouth and drops it as well.

Brush your teeth: As with her book habit, I’m sure the life span is limited on this one. But for now she loves working a toothbrush.

It’s understated how exciting it is for a parent to witness their child beginning to grasp basic communication. I’m insanely confidant that any day now she will learn “clean up your toys” and “scratch da-da’s back,” among other commands. Too bad she’s still too small to push a lawn mower.


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