Sunday, July 26, 2009

Child-speak, part 3

Our first grandchild, Pie, wanted to talk, but frequently ran out of words. She was between 18 months and two years old, and her total repertoire included a number of isolated words, mostly names, please, thank you, no, and me (meaning roughly I will do it myself, thank you very much), and a few short phrases.

She often sat in my lap, and when I talked to her, she would respond with one of her words or phrases, whether it fit my comment or not--a steady stream of non sequiters.

When she had run the gamut of her vocabulary, she would stare at me intensely. If I said nothing, she would put her little hands on my cheeks and squeeze them together until my lips opened, and say, "Talk. Mimi. Talk."

I finally figured out that we were having a conversation, and I was falling down on my end of it. She had contributed all she could, and I was supposed to keep the conversation going, while she tried to come up with something else to say.

She is seventeen now. She still sits in my lap occasionally. But now I am the one who feels like saying, "Talk. Pie. Talk."