Only parents understand their toddler's babbling
*Tap tap* *tap tap*. Someone’s patting my forehead. As my eyes open with a little morning light sneaking through the blinds into the bedroom, Little Bear is informing me that it’s time to get up. ‘God morgon Lila Björn!’ I can faintly make out his smile as he crawls over to grab hold of me in a heart-warming hug saying what sounds like ‘Pappa! Pappa!’. Raise my arm to hug him back and he does a skilful role under my arm, over my belly and sits up next to me pointing at the lamp: ‘lappa! lappa!’ (‘Lampa’ in Swedish). So me and the lamp have the same name… I’m not jealous of the fact that he clearly has more interest in switching on a lamp than hugging his daddy, but it’d be nice to not have to share my name with a bedside reading aid.
We were on holiday with family in Sweden last week, and Little Bear formed his first two-word sentence. Well, more of an instruction than a sentence: ‘go car!’,(‘gå bil!’ in Swedish) pointing in the direction of the Volvo in the driveway to the summer house. It’s clearly far from his first successful attempt at verbal communication. But it’s a big step in his learning to articulate his ridiculous desires and inconvenient opinions. What’s his third word in that sentence going to be when he can manage it? We’d like it to be please, but realistically it’s going to be ‘now’.
Little Bear is starting to talk. No, he’s not forming sentences yet, or even pointing at things and calling out their names, but the baby babbles are starting to sound like words we just said, and he’s starting to understand noises he makes relate to things. What does this mean for our plan for bringing him up bilingual?
After cleaning around 200 ml of baby vomit out of the taxi, Little Bear, his aunty and I took the plane. Of course, if it were possible I'd also suggest you avoid being in a plane, probably somewhere over Denmark, when you're baby might decide to do the biggest poo he's done in weeks. I carried him for the second time in 5 minutes to baby-changing room at the other end of the plane getting some sympathetic looks on the way. Then the stewardess asked me whether I 'wanted any help'... Odd I thought: why would anyone need help changing their baby? Then I realised the poo hadn't been limited to his nappy, or his own clothes...
It's not easy. Especially if your an native English speaker with poor language skills. Not hard like having a baby, that's mainly exhausting with lots of easy cool stuff at the end. It's more hard like learning to ski when you're in your 20s/30s...
I'm Dave, dad of Little Bear. Also known as 'Pappa' to the little man as we try and bring out his Swedish roots