Interpreting my son’s words

Written by: Christopher Spicer

Everett is now at the stage where he is talking on a regular basis. It is a real blast communicating with my son and hearing him regale me with all the adventures of the day. I know what some of you are probably saying, “Uh Christopher, Everett is 4 months old, and all he does is squeal, coo and gurgle. This is not talking.” And I scoff at such a statement, because you may not understand it, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t talking. I can’t speak a single sentence of German or Spanish, but I wouldn’t get away with saying speakers of this language aren’t talking. Someone is talking even if you don’t understand, and besides, I totally understand my son.

First thing in the morning when I’m changing Everett, he usually lets out a few “whoo” type sounds, and this is his way of wishing me “good morning.” When I start responding, he begins to blurt out his “whoos” more quickly and add in some “oohs”, this is when he starts telling me all about the adventures he had while I was asleep. Then he’ll give some “aahs” and “eehs”, and I know he has started to plan out his day of play. Finally, our morning conversation contains several combinations of those sounds along with some delightful squeals, and now he is letting me know how much he loves me and he is glad we can spend the day together.

Later in the day, I’ll be holding him when he starts making rapid “ooo” sounds along with several loud and joyous high pitch squeals while also flailing his arms around. This of course means he is telling me it is “Baby Dance Fever” time. I’ll lift him into a standing position, and he’ll show me the latest hot baby dance moves while also accompanying his jig with his self-made dance songs.

When Everett lies down on his play mat or in his crib, he’ll often looks up at his hanging toys or mobile, and start giving out sounds that resemble laughing. He is really saying, “I’m going to eventually find a way to grab these stuffed toys and put them in my mouth.” He’ll usually entertain the stuffed animals with a little “lying on his back baby dance.” I know the stuffed parrot is quite a big fan of Everett’s moves.

During bath time, Everett loves to look into the mirror and give a few “ooh”, “aah”, and “whoo” combos to his reflection. He is obviously saying, “Isn’t it fancy meeting you here you again? Well, let’s see who can make the most noise during bath time then.” It actually looks like a lot of fun. I wish we had a mirror in our shower.

When the evening finally arrives, it is time to get Everett ready for bed. Our latest tradition has been to read him a story. Usually during the story Everett says a few “oohaas”, because not only is he thrilled by the tale and captivated by the pictures, but he’s also predicting what will happen at the end of Green Eggs & Ham. By this point, he gets most of it right.

Once the story is over, he will be put in his bassinet. On the nights that I’ve done it, I give him a kiss and remind him of all the people who love him. He then responds with a little “urgh.” Of course, this means “I know, daddy, and I love you too.”

I’m not trying to convince you that I am fluent in “baby talk.” I won’t know what other babies are trying to tell me. I definitely can communicate with my son, and I know he is talking to me. I absolutely cherish my time talking to my son, and hearing all the wondrous things he has to say (or coo). I also look forward to the day he can speak English, and actually help tell me where I last placed my keys.