Saturday, September 02, 2006

First Words

My mother says that my first words were 'pretty baby' following a trip to Hawaii when I was 9 months old. My dad was taking a leave from his tour of duty in Vietnam, and Mom flew to Hawaii to spend some time with him. The military wives had been told they should leave the kids at home. Mom ignored those instructions, and brought me along. I guess she decided that since I was born 4 days before Dad shipped off, that he may just want to see me. Apparently quite a fuss was made over cute little me. People kept looking at me and say, 'Oh, what a pretty baby.' It didn't take me too long to start parroting back the words 'pretty baby.' I have had some doubts about this story since I have also heard that one of my grandmothers suspected I was a trifle 'slow.' This was because I didn't talk until well after my second birthday. Of course now, there are times I wish I could go back to not talking. It would sure keep me out of trouble now and again.

Fast forward 30 years to when S. was a little one around 18 months old. She and I had been feeling unwell and stayed home together one day. It was one of those wretched days where everything seems to go wrong, and because S. and I were alone together, I freely vented my frustrations.

I broke a glass. 'Oh, shoot!'

S. spit her food out all over me. 'Oh, shoot!'

S. didn't want to take a nap. 'Oh, shoot!'

I spilled my lunch on the floor. 'Oh, shoot!'

S. and I both managed to knock her lunch on the floor. 'Oh, shoot!'

S. had a really nasty diaper blowout. 'Oh, shootshootshootshootshootshootshoot!'

That evening Mr. W. came home to a frazzled wife and a baby who cheerfully shouted out 'oh, shoot!' at the drop of a hat (or spoon, as the case may be). You cannot believe how grateful I was that:

a. I had said 'oh, shoot!' rather than a slight variation thereof
b. S. could ennunciate it perfectly rather than come out with a slight variation thereof

My mother rather cheerfully pointed out that S. was lucky 'oh, shoot' was all she heard after the day we spent together.

Fast forward another three years, and L. is 18 months old. I headed off for a three day busines trip, leaving behind a mute baby, a talkative 4 year old and a husband annoyed I was abandoning them for something as silly as an R&D meeting.

When I got back, I got to hear about Mr. W. and the girls' pretty stressful day. They took a little road trip to Austin with Mr. W.'s parents. I'm not clear on all the details, but apparently, 'uh-oh' was the word for the day. When L. has a massive diaper blowout in McDonalds, it was 'uh-oh.' When it turned out said McDonalds did not have a changing table (side note: why oh why would an establishment with a playland NOT have a changing table?!?!?), it was 'uh-oh' many times over. L. celebrated the day by dropping 'uh-oh's' by the cartload. When Mr. W. picked me up at the airport, the little cherub chortled out one 'uh-oh' after the other the entire 30 mniutes it took to drive home.

That just goes to show that Mr. W. has a cleaner mouth than I do, and we both got really lucky with our kids' first words.

M.W.

2 comments:

Mayberry said...

that's adorable! I love the way little ones say "uh oh", with so much drama.

Keith said...

My spouse learned why to not let my toddler watch Everybody Loves Raymond. He said his first bad word. Since it surely must occur sometime, I was delighted it was entirely not my fault.