Chatter, it’s what I hear over my shoulder from the back seat of the car. It’s what comes through the monitor when he’s ready to get up from his nap. It’s what he mutters in between bites of food or sips from his drink at the table. Lucas has more to say than any other child I’ve ever met. He is now two years old. He’s getting taller; he’s getting heavier; he is able to do more every day, and he has a whole lot more to say: ick, uck, yuck.
There is a theme to Lucas-speak. Sippy cup sounds like about five other phrases that have nothing to do with cups or drinking. There’s also a generic word that does not sound like anything in the English language that he uses for so many things—“boppy.” He also gets stuck on certain concepts. For a while he was asking about balloons everywhere we went. There were wild gestures about these phantom mylar objects in the sky in which he would nearly leap out of my arms. More recently he believes there is wa-wa-wer (water) on the floor, on the chairs, in the car, in the store, outside, everywhere. My only thought is that he’s still traumatized by Hurricane Irene last August.
Every mechanized sound that he hears, he swears is a co-co-ter (helicopter), a plane or a big truck. I have yet to convince him that the lawn mower is not a motorcycle. Each time he is outside he swears there is something up in the sky. For a while I would patronize him, believing it was the imaginings of a toddler. That is until I began to realize how perfect his little eyesight was and that he in fact could spot the tiniest spec overhead—the highest jet with barely a tail streaking across the sky; and the faintest sliver of a moon—ma-MOON, ma-MOON!
He has become quite clear about yes and no. No sounds a bit screechy and is accompanied by squinting eyes, a grimace and head shaken from side to side in dramatic fashion, Naaaaah! For a while in answer to a question, his yes would come out aye, as if he were spouting some Scottish brogue. Now his yes is a very clear shake of his head in the affirmative.
His most vocal moments are by far those that involve food and his most vocal episodes are those that occur in the grocery store on Saturday mornings. When we pass the bakery section, he flips out, spouting off a whole tirade of things, with arms waving and legs kicking, and head shifting from shelf to shelf pointing to muffins, scones and cookies. And if he is not immediately handed some sort of baked yumminess, the urgency in his voice rises, the tirade turns to shouts, and then as I begin to push the cart forward, it all turns into big boo-hoo tears.
Of all the aspects of childhood development, I think that speech is the most fascinating and the most entertaining. It reminds me that in addition to his growth, his abilities to crawl and walk and run, there is also a lot going on up in that little boy head. There are times when Lucas will just begin to rattle off sentences that sound coherent, complex and full of meaning, only there isn’t a recognizable word in any of it. The most amazing part is when he is able to get his point across even if he uses words that only he and I understand. There are times when I just ask him if he wants some more yuck because he knows what I mean. Sometimes that’s all that matters.