That’s right, in the past month, my baby is taking serious steps (literally) towards toddler-dom. He is not only walking, but now talking. And his first words, creatively eschewing the more traditional mama and dada, are “Who’s that?” (I like to think he knows about the apostrophe.)
It took me and C a while to decide whether these are in fact his first words. After all, with no other grasp on language, it is hard to cross examine him as to whether he understands what he is saying. For a while now, he has surprised us with his unexpected skills of mimicry, at the oddest moments and with no repeat performances, he will give you an exact copy of what you have just said to him. These are not first words. That is his first foray into impressions.
“Who’s that” started out the same way. We would point to a new guest in our home, and sing-song those words to our son, in the hope that he would answer us with “Daddy!” “Nana!” “The Ocado delivery man!” We would also use his reflection as an opportunity to see if he knew his own name, “Who’s that? Its R!” You get the picture. However, evidently, our plan backfired. After a while, when we were simply asking him to name a relative, he would mimic back to us, “ooooo zaaa” and we would laugh.
However, it has progressed to clear speech. George V would be jealous. Upon passing a mirror, or a car window, or any particularly shiny surface, including the bathroom taps, our son now gleefully points at himself and announces, “Who’s that?” The same is true when he sees my mum, or a familliar face in the house. He knows when to say the words, he knows the actions which go along with them, and so without any further method of detection, I think we have to accept that he is speaking.
The last few days he has broadened out to objects. “Whass that?” I hear as he passes me a toy or points at my shopping bags. Never mind, I’m sure his next words will be Ima or Daddy. Or you know, “Move out the way, I’m spying on the neighbours.”
What were your baby’s first words?