First Words

October 25, 2009

Watching The Baby get bigger is a fascinating process, not unlike, in many respects, watching my Dad sober up after a particularly extravagant drinking session. At first, he cannot walk without falling over, doesn’t know his own name, cannot speak and instead makes a squeaky squawky sound. Then, gradually, he begins to regain balance, can once again focus on things more than three inches in front of him and can just, by eventide, structure a sentence. Well, this is pretty much what The Baby is doing, except far, far more slowly and without the help, as far as I can work out, of bottles of Lucozade and seven bags of salt and vinegar crisps.

Recently, she has been trying out speaking. I am jealous. I can do an array of miaows, but can only just about communicate clearly three things: stroke me, feed me, and seriously, I am going to go to the toilet now, right here, if you don’t let me out. I suppose when you think about it there isn’t much else I need to say. I’d like the option, though.

The fact that The Baby is attempting to speak has not, of course, passed The Mushroom by.

“We’ve absolutely got to stop swearing, love”, she said, again, to my Dad, “She’s going to pick it up and say it back and it will be awful. And you swear all the time.”

“She’s far too young, love.”, replies my Dad, looking, as The Mushroom tends to put it, ‘annoyingly nonchalant’.

“No, she’s not. Before you know it she’ll be talking and reading and writing and all sorts and she’ll pick up what we say and say it back and if you don’t stop swearing she’ll start swearing and how bad would that be that would be really bad stop swearing stop swearing stop swearing. Please.”

The Mushroom,at this point, looks a bit red in the face.

“I hardly ever swear now”, he replies, then spills a bit of his beer by misjudging where the table ends, “Oh, fuck!”

My Dad hangs his head in shame. The Mushroom hangs her head in resignation.

Whilst I completely agree with The Mushroom that maybe my Dad should curb his language a bit, so should she. Whilst ‘Oh, fuck!’ would be a terrible thing for a baby to say, so would many of the phrases The Mushroom utters with great regularity. For example, imagine this scenario at nursery:

“Sweetie, why don’t you try painting the apple red?”, says lovely homely nursery nurse.

“Jesus Wept!”, replies The Baby.

Personally, I think the pair of them should make their language much more child friendly, and should, possibly, maybe – and I know this is a bit ‘out there’ – start to call The Baby BY THE NAME THEY GAVE HER.

Both my Dad and The Mushroom, for reasons that are entirely beyond my feline brain, call The Baby all sorts of things, mostly foodstuffs. Why? Why refer to the person they love most as a food stuff? They call her ‘chicken’. They call her ‘chickpea’. They call her ‘sausage’. They call her ‘biscuit’. And most of all, they call her ‘noodle’.

Guess what her first, uber clear word was? That’s right. ‘Noodle’. The child thinks she is called ‘Noodle’. She believes she is named after the stringy bit of unleavened dough that is the mainstay of Japanese Cuisine. This is not an example of good parenting.

The Mushroom and my Dad don’t see it this way, of course. They think it’s frigging marvellous that The Baby is saying Noodle. They think this is further evidence, no doubt, that The Baby is some sort of Genius who will rule the world by the time she is five. I think it’s evidence that my Dad and The Mushroom refer to her as ‘Noodle’ far too much, but that’s just my opinion.

What if she grows up believing she is called ‘Noodle’? What if she introduces herself to people when she starts school as ‘Noodle’? How will she ever be taken seriously in the world of work? ‘Hi, I’m Noodle, and I’m your Line Manager’.

Perhaps I’m overreacting. Maybe she doesn’t actually think her name is Noodle, just likes repeating the sound. She does also, to be fair, say, ‘A dig a dig a dig’ a lot, and I don’t think she believes she’s an archeologist.  We’ll just have to see. In the meantime, I hope that my Dad and The Mushroom take this as a cue to pay closer heed to how they speak.

With this in mind, I counted how many times both my Dad and The Mushroom used the word ‘bollocks’ today. The answer is seventeen. I am wondering, therefore, what The Baby’s second word might be.


3 Responses to “First Words”

  1. annablagona said


  2. Granny Janey said

    Deal with it Zee. They call you Zeebling and your real name is Placebo?… neeyah… it’s a stretch. Cats are to false cures as little girls are to food. Hmmm. I’m going to have to htink about that one. And that new picture of you… I suspect that flight to Alberta was harder on you than you let on. You’ve gone grey. Yikes!!!!

  3. face said

    My best friend used to call her son Noodle and it doesn’t seem to have affected his intellectual development, so I say call ’em what you like. Also, your parents’ names should probably be Mum and Dad as far as Mila is concerned, but if she’s anything like normal, she’ll be calling you something else when she hits 15…. 🙂

    Your real name is Placebo?? What?

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