Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Four-part harmony

"Bro-bro."


"Mas."

"Hop."

"Mama."

And last night, Jewel looked me in the eye from the bathtub and said slowly and clearly, "Daddy. Daddy. Daddy."

I looked straight back at her and said, "I love you too, sweetie."

Every day seems to bring new words to her lips. "Daddy" only sort of qualifies as new, since she's been saying "Dada" for so long. Either her speaking muscles finally developed to the point she can add the "e" sound on the end, or she's finally decided that I'm not an anarchist artist ridiculing the meaninglessness of the world, I'm just moderately disorganized.

According to Mama, Jewel's vocabulary extends to 3,600 words and includes synchrotron, succotash and sesquipedalian. OK, maybe not those last three, but Mama hears and can identify far more words than I can, since she's with Jewel for many more hours every day than I am. I'd say her vocabulary is about 20 words.

Jewel's, not Mama's, you knob.

Jewel's speech comprehension far outstrips her speech production, of course. I'm still delighted when she responds to what I'm saying, from simple questions such as, "Can you lie down on the changing pad?" to more complex requests such as, "Please go over to the door and get your boots and bring them back to me so we can put them on."

Having a four-year-old in the house, I'm actually delighted to know that my voice is still audible. For months now, based on 3B's reactions, or lack thereof, to simple requests like these, I've figured that I've been struck mute. Perhaps he just has a temporary hearing impairment that starts when I say, "Could you please..." and ends when I stop talking.

3B had better keep an eye over his shoulder, however, if he doesn't want to be overtaken by his little sister. Just this weekend, she was able to understand and respond appropriately to my request to "Please go to the 7-11 and get some beer. Something good. None of that schwaggy American-with-a-faux-German-name crap that's nothing but cold piss with bubbles. Oh, and bring me my change--don't buy any candy with it. That stuff's not good for you. Thanks."

She took my money, looked me right in the eye and said, "Yo, bro-lio. No prob."

Uh...what did she just call me?



So he can continue to understand what his children say, Papa Bradstein is going to be reading a dictionary as he rides his bike 200 miles.

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