Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Wonder of Words and Wordlessness

Here's the thing. Before Emmy had words, I was absolutely ACHING for the moment she would be able to verbalize her needs. Parenting was primarily a guessing game,a la "Is Em hungry? Is she crying because she is thirsty? Because she is too hot? Because she hurt herself? Is it already time to change her diaper (again)?"

Now that Em has words, parenting has become a heck of a lot easier on so many levels. She tells C and I if she is hungry, what she is in the mood to eat, if she needs to go on the potty (most of the time), if she is looking for a specific toy, and of course she also shares her thoughts on the meaning of life (which include the importance of Elmo and gold fish crackers).

Granted, Em's vocabulary is still limited, and most of her words need mama or dada's keen ear and interpretation. "Slide" and "outside" sound remarkably similar. The way she says "Mickey Mouse" sounds more like "meeemowww". And it took C and I a good thirty minutes the other night to figure out that Emmy was saying "I want lunch" (she actually wanted dinner, but "lunch" has become a stand in for pretty much any meal). It sounded like "aahwahhhhlunnnnnnnnnn".

As much as I absolutely LOVE the fact that Emmy is communicating with us, I really kind of miss our wordless days. Just 6 months ago, our relationship relied heavily on silly sounds, grandiose hand gestures, and the interaction of our bodies. I could make Em laugh uncontrollably when I made sudden, low howls, like in this video from December:

Sometimes, I can still make her laugh like that with funny faces and silly noises. But most of the time we are too busy talking, singing, or engaged in some other form of verbal communication, to rely on a non-verbal, maybe somewhat more primal means of communicating.  And I know that with the end of nursing on the horizon, a HUGE part of our non-verbal communication is going to soon be a thing of the past.

Do I love Em's words, and her unique toddler vocabulary? Absolutely. Do I look forward to future intimate mama daughter talks that last for hours and hours? Yes, so very very much. But a little part of me will always miss baby Em's gurgles,giggles, squeaks,squeals, and other wordless wonders.


  1. I love her words so very much and get excited every time she says something new for me. Granted, I'm not sure she knows just what she's saying sometimes, but it's adorable to see her try! <3 you all.

    1. The best was yesterday, when she was trying to make "small talk" with Frank, and just strung three random words together, a la "Chicken. Car. Shoes." That's probably what she thinks adult conversation is... just random crazy words put together. I guess she is kinda right. :)

  2. I never thought about that. Probably because my daughter is only 10 months so she's not talking yet, but I probably will miss what I call her "seagull squawks" and all the other sweet and funny sounds. That being said I can't WAIT for her to talk so she can tell me what's going on in that adorable head of hers.

    1. Oh, you will definitely miss those little squawks! Having said that, it is AMAZING when kids DO start talking, because they can communicate their needs and start sharing their thoughts, which makes parenting oh-so-much easier and more enjoyable.
      I burst into tears when I watch videos of Em back when she was wordless, missing her little sounds and baby noises. But I am also awe-struck by my growing daughter, who has begun speaking in broken sentences, and is really using words (and intonations) to express her personality.
      Enjoy all of your daughter's stages...
      Big hugs,