One of the perks of having highly educated, highly skilled friends is that they can offer interesting insights that, like the TV says, you just can’t get anywhere else. Here, a friend who was a linguistics major at Mac and is now a professional wordsmith explains, more or less scientifically, how Vivi gets ma out of spoon:
Drop the final n first: spoo
Mess up the vowel: spa
The sp is a consonant blend – big time tough. Many languages don’t even have them. Look at Hawai’ian, just single consonants with lots of a‘s and o‘s in between. So she drops the s and gets puh
Finally, p and m are both bilabials, made with the lips together. The m allows air to flow through the nose while the p stops the airflow entirely, which means the m is easier. This is why “Mama” is a common first word, and why puh becomes ma.
The girls enjoy nothing so much for breakfast as the same thing, day in and day out. For months now, weekends have been given over to “banana split breakfast,” which is a few slices of banana topped with peanut butter (Julia) or yogurt (Genevieve), a handful of berries, and a handful of dry cereal.
Weekdays have recently been dominated by toast with peanut butter and honey (J) or cereal and yogurt (Vv), but for the past week both girls have asked for waffles, topped for one (guess who) with peanut butter and honey or butter (ditto), and, on the side, a banana and, for Vivi, a dollop of yogurt.
Adorably, Vivi loves to eat all these things only about half as much as she likes to name them, using her spoon (“ma,” mysteriously) to point to each in turn and announcing: “Orgut! Num, num. Nana! Num, num. Bawffle! Num, num!”
The only way today could have been a more perfect summer day is if it had involved ice cream, and I’m about to take care of that omission. I think I spent about eight hours of quality time with the girls today, including a long walk this morning and an hour at the playground this afternoon. Everyone – even me! – was in a good mood, and both girls were in excellent form: being silly, trying new things, helping each other out, refusing to fuss… Here they are, attired in their finest, during the morning walk. I don’t recall, but I’ll bet Julia is telling me that she’s Mary and that Vivi is Jesus. With these killer outfits, who could argue?
Vivi, imitating her big sister, has lately been making a point of sitting, diapered or not, on the potty chair before her bath. Until tonight, it was just an exercise. Tonight, though, she actually went! She grinned up at me as I attended to any of another half-dozen pre-bath activities and shouted, “Potty! Potty!” I haven’t been happier to wipe a bottom since about this time last summer, when her sister was trying to get into the potty habit. At this rate, Vivi will be toilet trained by the time Julia heads back to preschool in September. That won’t happen, but a dad can dream. All that diaper money…