Monday, 21 May 2012

The consequence of sound

Bug is on a journey towards language via sounds and pictures. After 18 months I'm getting to hear my daughter's voice and it is the most beautiful sound. There's a cadence to each word she chooses to disclose that makes Bear and I smile effortlessly. Sometimes it's a sound so sweet that I have a little cry. I don't let on though -- should Bear ask, I cough, wipe my eyes with the back of my sleeve and blame it on hay fever. Luckily we're in May and not December.

It's obvious Bug loves learning. We never force her to sit and study: she's 18 months old not a first year undergraduate. We try to encourage as much as we can though. For example, she'll point to a picture in a book. I'll tell her what it is: a chair. Bug smiles and points to a chair in our room. Associations are formed and understood. Smiles are given and received; the occasional round of applause.

She's practising her name. At the moment she's got as far as 'Minger.' This means nothing to those that know her only as Bug. It doesn't mean a whole lot more to those who know her name. For now, she's 'Minger.' Like the elephant, we get random 'Minger' from time to time. Coupled with this is the discovery that saying 'bye bye' is the spoken equivalent of waving. She says 'bye bye' a lot, often with a wave. Every so often she says 'bye bye' to strangers while saying her name. 'Bye bye Minger,' she says sweetly to the innocent bystander. She then waves.

It says a lot for the part of Edinburgh where we live that her favourite sound to make is currently 'nii nor nii nor.' There are many ambulances, fire engines, police cars and takeaway delivery drivers traversing the streets by our flat. Yet Bug takes a noise so abrasive and teases music from it, floating sounds up and down as if they're on a see-saw.

My favourite sound is 'here it is!' It started off as a game: Bear or I would hide something -- a apple, a toy -- and raise our hands palm upwards and say 'where is it?' Bug would find it and we'd excitedly say 'here it is!' This quickly changed to Bug hiding things. I'd ask where the apple was, Bug would hold her hands out: no idea Guv. I'd look all over the flat but to no avail. Bug would finally reveal it (behind her back all along!) and mimic 'here it is' with a sound more song than words.

With each new day the sound grows more like a sentence: 'hereitis' becomes 'here-it-is' becomes 'here it is.' It is a wondrous thing watching her grow.

Bye for now.


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