Sunday, August 06, 2006

Pearls of Wisdom

First babies are watched with intensity. These little squashy bundles of potential are just oozing around waiting to produce a large litany of 'firsts' that you, as parent, are expected to note down with date, time, and place so you can answer appropriately at doctors' offices and school gifted assessment interviews. Also it's handy for playing the one-up game with other parents and their inferior offspring.

High on this list is the First Word. Most cherubs trot out a 'ma-ma' on schedule, or if they know which parent is most likely to reward biased behavior with sugar-laden snacks, they go for 'da-da' or (for the pretentious set) 'pa-pa.' The parent can then glow smugly with the knowledge that their infant truly loves them because at 8:42 on a Wednesday morning...

Yes. Well, then there's Child 1. Child 1 had been quite content to get along with a series of emphatic grunts. Mostly because its idiot parents responded to these grunts. Fun times those were - 'GRUNT' milk? you want milk? Or hungry - maybe you're hungry? Outside, is that it? 'GRUNT' oh. Kirk? It's your turn to change it...

We were visiting some friends in Nierstein - friends we had known since language training in Monterey. Male friend and Kirk were in a car, female friend, Child 1 and I were on the kerb. One of the males (no names, protect innocent) turned, saw us, started doing an idiot wave, and promptly ran into the back of the car in front. Loud and clear female friend says... well, this is a family blog so we'll say it started with 'SH' and rhymed with hit, bit, and... um... sit.

'[not sit!]' my innocent said promptly and delightedly. Also clearly. And loudly. First word. No question. It even passed the full first word test by repeating the word. Multiple times. With emphasis.

'Oh.' Said female friend, looking at my child's delighted face. 'Um. Sorry about that.'

Later that afternoon Child 1 produced its second word - 'fly' which, with a bit of encouragement, became the word of choice.

When asked, for most of Child 1's life I have blatantly lied. Fly was its first word I say, without a blush, definitely fly. Now that Child 1 is older however, it's time the truth was told.

I wonder if this will change its gifted status.


Anonymous said...

Parental bragging can be vicious. Like the new moms in the BYU bathrooms on Sunday...I was there with my oldest, six months old and 35th percentile for height and weight, listening to a mom with her young bruiser, who was slurping away: "My doctor says that Junior is growing so well, I must just give cream." ...What's mine, then, SKIM!!?? I wanted to string her up by her cute little toenails.

For Kirk said...

All three of mine were consistently below %50 on those darn charts - especially in weight! I would just smile at the young bruisers and silently chant the MIT fight song: 'that's alright, that's okay, you'll be working for us some day.' Probably untrue, but it felt good!

Anonymous said...

My elderly mother is very proud of the fact that one of the earliest words she first learned to write was the one that rhymes with hit. Courtesy of her friend Shirley, who already knew how to spell her name, who provided the secret ingredient.

Needless to say, she was happily amused when it later turned out to be one of my brother's earliest written words also.

Sad to say, I didn't inherit that particular family gene.