Bitti is approaching two and a half years now. She has been talking properly (i.e. in sentences) for only six months, yet I can’t really recall a time when my house wasn’t filled with endless chatter and the swiftly dealt orders of a budding
Tonight she went and pulled out the tape measure from her tool box, lay it on the ground, and ordered me to put my foot against it so she could see how long it was. I followed the order immediately–the consequences of not doing so were heavily implied–but was told to stop and take my slipper off first. Then, when she had considered my foot and made some serious-looking inspections at both the toe and heel end, she declared ‘Mummy, you have a really big foot’!
Every now and then I feel a sense of wonder at how quickly and seemingly effortlessly she is acquiring language, and this was one such moment. Already she is using modals, adjectives, subject-object agreement, pronouns and comparative language, and that’s just in that sentence alone.
But the thing that impresses me the most is her ability to understand jokes. Now, they’re not very subtle jokes, but it does astonish me how much word play she picks up on. While playing with some kids recently I was accidentally called nana by one of Bitti’s little friends. They both giggled when she realised her mistake. Then I called them both nana too, and that was it, they were both down and out with giggles for the next five minutes.
And this morning I was talking to Bitti about all her friends at childcare, one of whom inverts the first two syllables of Bitti’s (real) name. She giggled about that, and then I said ‘we should call her ___’ and inverted the first two syllables of her friend’s name too. Well, I did not expect a laugh really, I was just saying it more for my own amusement. But Bitti got it! Amazing.
This is perfect, I love a good spoonerism, and if Bitti can already understand why they’re funny then I am set for stand-up material in this house.
Mostly I am glad to know she has a sense of humour that doesn’t only revolve around me hurting myself. Because my being poked or jabbed or bish-bash-boshed is the thing that will guarantee a laugh every time.