Thursday, April 1, 2010

Intonation

            Celia’s vocabulary is growing in leaps and bounds now. Every day she seems to pick up a dozen more words. A number of times I’ve been startled when I’m talking to someone about something that I would assume is way over Celia’s head, and then she suddenly spurts out a word that I’ve said, somehow picking it out from the whole discussion.
            I’d been telling my friend, “When you go look at your truck tomorrow, make sure to take someone with you who knows a thing or two about mechanics.”
            Celia, who’d been on the other side of the room, said, “Truck!”
            We looked at her in surprise. This age is wonderfully surprising.
            I’ve found that she can now communicate with us, but because she only knows one or two words for a situation, she has to rely on intonation. Let me give an example.
            When we were traveling back from Victoria on the ferry Sunday night, we had to wait in the car for over an hour before finally boarding. Michelle said, “Don’t you have a movie on your laptop?”
            “Finding Nemo is the only one,” I nodded.
            “Nemo! Nemo!” Celia grinned happily.
            I pulled out the laptop, and opened it up. It said it had a low battery already (as a side note, I did end up taking it to the shop to get it fixed, and now the battery lasts a good chunk of time). I thought, “Well, let’s watch what we can.”
            I turned on the movie and Celia pointed at the screen, “Nemo! Nemo!”
            Michelle and I smiled at each other as we all nestled into our seats. What a great way to pass the time.
            But then, without further warning, the screen went completely black. The battery was finished.
            “Neeeemoooooo! Neeeemooooo!” Celia called to the computer, as if she’d just lost her good friend and could somehow raise Nemo back to life.
            Michelle and I burst into laughter. “It’s okay, Sweetie. We can finish watching Nemo some other time.”
            The other recent intonation experience happened yesterday when I took Celia to Trout Lake for a run. Before we left Michelle told me, “Make sure she doesn’t get wet.”
            Our routine is to run around on the playground for awhile, then walk over to see the ducks at the lake, dodging mud puddles on the way, but often-times standing right on the shore line. “Oh, okay.” I replied.
            “Wait!” Michelle went over to a dresser in Celia’s room. “She can wear these boots!”
            “Ah. Princess boots.” The boots were purple and had princesses on their sides.
            “Boot! Boot!” Celia exclaimed.
            I put the first boot on Celia’s left foot. “It’s too big.”
            Michelle shrugged. “She’ll grow into them.”
            “Okay, we’ll be careful.”
            The boots were about one-and-a-half sizes too big, but I figured we could make it work. Partway there, one of them came flying off. I stopped the stroller and put it back on Celia’s foot. “Careful not to loose your boots. They’re big, so they can fall off easily.”
            “Boot! Boot!” she told me excitedly.
            When we arrived at the playground, she managed decently enough, with only a few trips because of the large boots. Then, the moment I could hardly wait for arrived. Let’s put these boots to the test.
            “Celia, let’s go see the ducks.”
            Celia happily took my hand as we walked over to the lake.
            “Mud!” she declared, pointing at a big section of muck to our left.
            “Yes. It’s mud. And usually we go around it, but today you’re wearing boots, so you can go through it if you’d like.”
            Celia proclaimed, “Boot! Boot!”
            I took that as a yes, so we began our squishy journey into the mud. Squish. Squish. Squish. With every successful step, Celia declared, “Boot!” happily.
            And then, without any time for me to react, the left boot got stuck in the mud and her foot came right out, the sock now taking the next step into the inch of muck.
            “Oh no!” I said.
            “Aaaaah!” Celia shrieked. “Booooooooot! Boooooooot!”
            I wanted to console her but I couldn’t help but laugh. She’d called to it as if to say, “I was counting on you! You failed me! How could you!”
            I think that’s one of the fun things about this age. She may have only a limited vocabulary, but she’s able to express a wide range of ideas simply through intonation.