Our 21-month-old is very smart. She has a great memory. She loves songs and books and being silly. But a clear talker, she is not. Our oldest had probably a 200+ word vocabulary at this age. She was singing full verses of songs, recognized nearly every letter of the alphabet, and was stringing words together to make sentences, like, I want nurse pease, mama. Now. She was, and remains, a very verbal child.
Frances wouldn’t know a letter of the alphabet if it jumped off the page and smacked her in the face, while screaming “I’m a B!” “B?” she’d probably say to herself, and then maybe she would buzz about the house like the insect. More likely, though, she would point her finger at the B and then shout, “Nnnno!” (her response to most things and people these days).
Frances gives new meaning to the phrase multiple-meaning words, as much of what she says now doubles for two words (see below for some examples). The good news is, Nora, Liam and I have gotten very good at interpreting, so we can usually figure out what she is trying to say.
Some of her favorite, most used words and phrases right now are listed below, along with a translation.
Me: Frances (Poor thing can’t say her own name—I can’t tell you how sad this makes me. Although in recent days she has been making some progress—“Mee-cess” now comes out on occasion, with some prompting)
Nay-nay: thank you or “Candace” (The latter is the name of our babysitter. These two are especially funny when combined together, as in Thank you, Candace.— “Nay-Nay, Nay-Nay”‘)
Boppy: coffee or “Frosty” (as in, the snowman)
Daddy/Dawdy: daddy or doggie
Moddy: my favorite, a mash-up of mommy and daddy (she usually uses this one when she is tired or angry, and doesn’t know who she wants, and so it never comes out right)
Dammy: similar to Moddy, except she begins with Daddy and ends with Mommy
Me’ere: Come here
Ear-are: there/here it is, or there/here they are
Eat!: I’m hungry! (This is her first word EVERY morning upon waking)
Ass: eggs (What she demands every morning, just after she shouts, “Eat!”). Great. Eat! Ass!
Meal: oatmeal (reserved for the days she doesn’t feel like eating ass)
Ole-you: (not an insult, as it may first appear) Can you hold me, please?
Bone: phone (She likes to grab hold of this when I’m not around and punch numbers into the locked keypad repeatedly until she renders it inaccessible for many minutes on end, sometimes in a foreign language. How she does this? I do not know.)
Pee-pas: pictures (the reason she wants the bone in the first place, so she can view images of her and her sister, Nor-nor.)
Bubby: tubby (bath)
Since I began with a comparison of both girls in which Frances appeared to be the lesser of the two, I’ll end on a note in which she comes out ahead. Frances is a much more happy, far less grumpy and serious, more affectionate and overall more delightful child than her sister. She’s also way more physical and daring than Nora. And, her vocabulary is really starting to grow with each passing day.
Before Frances was born Liam and I had concerns we could love another child as much as we loved Nora. We needn’t have been worried. Our Franny is hysterical, adorable, cuddly and the most easy child to love—that is, if you ignore the selfish, screeching, pointing-demanding phase that she’s going through right now. Which is actually really hard to do now that I think about it. Thank goodness she’s so stinking cute. Her life might be in danger otherwise.