Lost in Translation

It's 8:35 p.m. I'm in my jammies. So is Baby C, although she was much less excited about putting them on. She's settled down with the six pacifiers she sleeps with, and I've got a glass of wine in hand. Bedtime, at last. Now that I have a moment to catch up here, I can't think of what, exactly, we've been doing to make me so tired.

Baby C's talking. A lot. And it takes every ounce of concentration to figure her out. Comprehension was easy at first, because her vocabulary was completely in our control. We'd point out a train, and she would sweetly lisp, "twain!" back to us. Now, however, anything she hears any where is fair game--including things that aren't actually words.

"Ooooh, ooooh!" = Fire engine or police car, of course. It took us a couple of days to figure that one out. When she hears laughter (even two rows over in the grocery store), Baby C says "hahaha." She forces the chuckle out with vigor, and people think they're being mocked until they realize the person emitting the sound is tucked into the little grocery cart seat and simply proud of herself for recognizing human emotion. Unfortunately, tears have a similar effect. When Baby C hears babies crying, she wails in solidarity.

She’s mastered the passive voice in the face of a potentially negative reaction. "It fell," she tells us solemnly, after she throws her spoon to the floor. But she is eager to claim achievements: "I did it! Did it!" after a successful run down the kiddie slide at the park. Actually, she will muse "did it! did it!" all the way home from the park, if she was truly impressed with herself.

"Die, die" had me not a little concerned for a while, until I realized it was her word for "drive." "Babewy", sadly enough, means Blackberry (as in Daddy's ever-present email machine). "Bear" which she had mastered, has turned into "ppffftt." We were concerned that she was losing words until the fragment of a kiddie song popped into my head. I think she's actually quoting a (horribly annoying) Wiggles song, in which they sing, "ssh, ssh, ssh, bear's fast asleep." Greg's not entirely convinced, but I think it's worth banning the Wiggles to see whether I stop hearing their lyrics in my head. Er, I mean, to see if her speech improves. Either way, I think it would make life easier.

Getting the Nod

I think it was my law school roommate and dear friend K who first told me about the upsell nod. When she worked as a waitress, she was instructed to upsell booze to her tables by nodding as she presented the drink menu. Her inquiry, "Would you like to hear about our famous drink specials?" would be accompanied by subtle nodding, and the hapless customers were supposed to nod along all the way through an extra round for the table.

Wow! Could persuasion be so simple? I tried it on Greg: "Do you want to order take out tonight [nod nod nod nod nod]?" He agreed, but I attributed it less to my maniac head bobbing and more because he knew the alternative would be Cheerios for dinner again.

Despite my doubts, I find myself using the technique on Baby C. "Ooooh, look! Yummy applesauce! You LIKE applesauce!" [Then I nod vigorously and shove in a bite, nod some more, and repeat the routine.]

Baby C is clearly on to me. Tonight, with bedtime imminent after a bath and two stories, she started to point her mouth--her sign for being hungry. She's been trying to postpone bedtime lately, and I was doubtful. "Are you really hungry?"

She NODDED. "Applesauce!" she said. Then she looked at me, smiled, and nodded firmly again. "Applesauce."

No, I didn't fall for it. But I am a little concerned that I'm out of tricks, and she's not yet two. I wonder what technique the restaurant used to get customers to order dessert?