Sunday, February 1, 2009

As difficult as A, B, C

The little fella attained a dubious high water mark a couple of days ago: He's reached what you might call 'Parrot Status'.

Without the slightest inkling as to the meaning of what he is uttering, he is now able to mouth (that is, parrot) the first two letters of the alphabet. At nine months and change, this isn't a particularly stunning achievement, but it certainly made for some excitement in our little household.

"A", Sonny had suddenly mumbled as Pa was running through the alphabet song and jabbing at the hand-made chart that we have on our wall. Then, "A" again. He said it fairly well too, though his pronunciation would vary over the next couple of days, at times teetering on the edge of "Air". Shortly thereafter, with a bit of egging-on, he progressed to "B", though pronounced with a strange whistling sound through his two teeth, something closer to "Bhhee".

We therefore now have the odd situation of a baby who can't even say "Mum" or "Pa" (despite a false alarm, as described in an earlier post; click here to read it) yet will suddenly go into a bizarre run of "A"s and "B"s. Just take this morning:

Pa: Good morning, Sonny. Ready to go to the infant care centre yet?
Sonny: A. B. A. A.
Pa: It's me, Pa. That's right... Paaaa. Can you say 'Pa'?
Sonny: A. B. A. B.
Pa: Er, that's very clever, Sonny. But you ought to start with your parents first, you know. What about 'Mum'? Say 'Mum', Sonny...
Sonny: A. B. A. A. A.
Pa (tries to go with the flow): All right, never mind all that. Can you say, 'C'? Come on, let's move on...
Sonny: A. A. B. B. A.
Pa: Stop it! It's driving me crazy!
Sonny: A? B? A. B. A.

Of course, if we were to tell a visitor about Sonny's newly-acquired skill, then trot the little rascal out for a demonstration, he will immediately clam up and just smile and paw away innocently. He could be getting a good laugh over our discomfiture at these moments, so maybe we'll just wait for him to learn the rest of the alphabet before we inform anyone else.

Mustn't fall into the little fella's trap too many times, must we?