Mini has chosen her first toy to name all by herself. She hasn’t called it “Teddy” or “Pandy” or any of the names that most kids call their toys.
She has called it “Penis”.
The toy in question is the weird one-eyed mascot from the Olympics which unfortunately does have an uncanny resemblance to a phallus. It also looks quite like a deformed penguin, and my hope is that this is what she’s trying to say. Whether or not it’s true, I am encouraging this option and gently trying to rename it “Pingus”.
Seeing her language develop has turned out to be one of the most enjoyable things about bringing her up: pointing at animals in books and hearing her repeating, repeating repeating the words until they’re fixed in her head. And the little phrases she’s picked up from me: “hang on!” and “wait a minute!” which I now realise I say thirty times a day. My current favourite is “what am I doing?” which apparently I say so regularly it’s become part of her baby-lexicon ahead of useful phrases like “help me” or “I want more”.
This tiny language-sponge is sucking up exactly how much I swear, say negative things and tell the truth. At 18months she is a toddling conscience, reflecting back at me all the things I wish I didn’t say and certainly don’t want people to hear.
I’m slightly dreading the moment when she starts to speak properly and can begin asking personal and public questions on the bus. At the moment I am mildly embarrassed by her calling every man she sees “daddy”, but that’s nothing compared to “has that man eaten someone?” which I heard declared incredibly loudly by a three-year-old on the 210.
To be fair to her, I was wondering the same.
(This post is dedicated to Steven Pinker. “As you are reading these words, you are taking part in one of the wonders of the natural world”. Hope you keep that in mind when you read this blog…)