Monday, March 23, 2009

Utterance--Rethought, Reaction

In these past few weeks I've been feeling especially sorry that I don't talk to my baby as much as I thought I would. I assumed I'd be a mother who used verbal communication to boost her baby into geniusdom. In that vein, I purchased toys that would facilitate all sorts of wonderful discourse.

But the one-sided conversation ended up making me feel lonely. What was I thinking?

We sing and dance, I say his name about twenty thousand times a day. I point out objects and animals and show him letters and numbers. But my assumption that I'd be pontificating on theologies while he empties the contents of my purse just isn't happening.

However, when I am not talking, he makes intense intonations in the only un-mastered language: baby talk. I listen to his excitable chatter as he explores the treasures hidden in accessible kitchen cupboards. He whooshes, grunts, turns his head and emphatically says "oh."

If only I could translate "golg golg naa naa." His personal statement.

As for us, I am learning that our conversation is based on body language. He knows my reaching arms mean that I want to hold him. My kisses on his often-bonked head means I want to console him. My putting him on the floor tummy up means I want to change his diaper. (Cue: back arching and screaming). I am learning that we are incessantly talking all day long.

In a language we made up together.

And I am also learning that these are the last quiet months of my life. Pretty soon there will be real dialogue. Trillions of questions I will have to answer.

Where do clouds come from? How do fish sleep? When will Dad come home? What makes a bouncy ball bouncy?

Instead I will use this simpler time to make sure I know the answers.


I've been thinking about the line,
In a language we made up together.

It reminds me of my first year of marriage with Chup. Our newlywed struggle was communication. I overly exerted adjectives with flowery (who me?) language to describe everything from experience to emotion. Chup, on the other hand was very deliberate and concise with his words. He also used them sparingly. We spent a lot of energy trying to understand each other. I wondered who was going to swallow their words and start learning the other's language. Would we forever talk in my dramatic sense or Chup's simplistic diction?

I think overtime, we made up a language derivative of our styles. It isn't a perfect language, but we can both speak it pretty well. And somehow I've learned to speak less, and he's learned to speak more.

This from Jason (a superior wordsmith in his own right)

Though I always enjoy reading over your varied thoughts, there was something in the way you worded your last one which spoke to me. Perhaps it was the way that the words flowed one into the other, like so many spreads of peanut-butter and honey on freshly-made toast; or maybe it came from the deeper message of communication we have with others. How there are moments in life where we need no words to understand each other.

Thanks Jason. Now I want a peanut butter and honey sandwich.