Friday, April 05, 2024

Toddle is an Onomatopoeia


I had no moral responsibility to the boy, other than the one taken on as a babysitter. This mainly required that I feed and change him regularly, and not allow him to fall in the pool, run with scissors or be eaten by a pack of wild dogs. The usual stuff Mommies worry about.

This particular instance, Austin and I traversed the great sea of concrete to visit the Aquarium. (What? the desert?) His bottle firmly stuck in his face, he giggled and flirted with me all the way there.

Outside the aquarium, is a botanical garden

Being One-and-a-half, the world is experienced as a mystery, by all the senses. This generally applies to anything about the face of the 18 month old and particularly applies to the mouth and nose. It should be noted that there seems to be a set order of orifices, that being; mouth, nose, ears, etc.

Anyway, Austin toddled off over the lawn in search of new and colorful things to eat. We had lately been working on languages and though he only rarely utters full words, his intonation and inflection are brilliant. Great-Grandma maintains that he will never learn to speak if everybody keeps handing him stuff when he grunts. She is probably right.

So Austin grabbed the nastiest, brownest looking weed, with big sticker-kinda-looking thingies on it and looked at me.

"Ma-oo-um-aa?" he uttered, holding the pollen laden, dirt-encrusted weed just beyond my reach. Though the phonemes were meaningless to me, the tone was clear. It was the tone Marsha Mason used in The Goodbye Girl when she said "Because I'm the Mommy, that's why." Except Austin was telling me, "I've already looked at this wonderful and mysterious object, now I must put it in my mouth."

Perhaps now would be a good time to bring up some painfully technical stuff. It is a known fact that a baby's synapses work much faster than an adult Uncle's. Small children also have a gift for being 4 inches beyond ones reach at any given time. I should also mention that the laughter of children is the finest sound in the universe.

Aging Uncle made a grab for the weed and managed to get all of it away from incredibly agile toddler's mouth and most of it out of his hand. The remainder, of course, went directly into his nose. A look of astonishment overcame his face and metamorphosed into and aura of distaste mixed with intense concentration. Dear Austin removed the tendril of weed from his left nostril. He looked at it, he looked at me. He raised his eyebrows, said "Uh-oh" and sneezed.

I don't recall hearing him sneeze before, although I'm sure he must have. In either case, Austin thought this at once hilarious and mystifying, so much that he tried it again. Fortunately, even aging Uncle's can move fast enough for that. As soon as the giggle wore off that, he toddled off toward a tree to investigate. Using a slight rising intonation he said, "Da-dar?" Meaning of course, would you be kind enough to lift me up there. ("Da-dar?" = Gordon)

It was a new tree for Austin, It was a Wisteria bush, but we had not got that far, botanically speaking. To our surprise and delight, a hummingbird popped up over the bush, and hovered directly in front of Austin. After a long, slow intake of breath he began with "ooooh!" and then giggled contagiously.

Did I mention that the laughter of children is the finest sound in the universe?