Archive for the ‘learning to talk’ Category


July 13, 2011

Babess regularly uses “so so” as an intensifier when she is speaking.  Her princess dress is “so so pretty”, our vege knife is “so so sharp”, Lego is “so so fun”.  An amusing example was her description of a friend (younger than her, but taller and heavier) as “so so little”.

Soon enough this little linguistic phase will pass and be (nearly) forgotten, so I wanted to record it here.

She’s so so cute.

© UpsideBackwards 2011.


Gumboots with wheels on

May 8, 2011

Pearl and Fainjin were reading an “I Spy” book together – the sort where there are photographs of lots of different things and you have to look for an assortment of “treasures”.

Fainjin was doing the “calling” and Pearl the finding.  Fainjin said, “Can you find a gumboot?”  Pearl pointed.

“Can you find a gumboot with wheels on it?”

I turned from the sink, puzzled.  What could he be looking at?  Then Pearl sighed and said with great big-sister superiority, “They’re called roller skates, Fainjin.”

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

Indirect speech

May 7, 2011

Fainjin can be quite a wordy little man, when it comes to asking for things.  I don’t know why, but about half the time he won’t ask for something straight out.  Instead of saying, “Please can I have some milk?”, he’d rather say, “Please can I have something to drink that’s white?”

Most of the time I have no trouble figuring out what he wants, perhaps because I’ve become used to it.  Sometimes, though, for the life of me I don’t know what he’s asking for – and he won’t clarify.  This can lead to frustration on both sides.  It’s a peculiar sort of stubborness: it seems he would rather stick to his coded messages and wait for the penny to drop, than say it outright and get what he wants at once!

I suppose I should admire his persistence in sticking to his principles.

© UpsideBackwards 2011.


December 8, 2010

Babess woke at 4:20am today, needing a “snuggle in Mummy’s bed”.  We think she was cold.  Actually, she was cold, we know that, it’s just we think that’s what woke her.  It was cooler last night than it has been for quite a while, the central heating was still off for the renovations, and she has a habit of wriggling out of her pyjamas and kicking off all her bedclothes.

So, The Dad and I were feeling a little less than sharp as we drove to work this morning (because Babess did not go back to sleep in our bed, and neither did we).  This meant we had more-than-usual difficulty picking up on what Babess was saying to us – not helped by the fact that she was clearly tired too.

“I want a kah-gah.”

“A cuddle?  I’ll give you lots of cuddles when we get out of the car, but I can’t while we’re moving, ok?”

“No!  A kah-gah!  I want a kah-gah!”

“A cracker?!”

“No!  A kah-gah!”

“A… kah-gah?”

“No!” (crossly) “A KAH-gah!”

“Ummm, what does it look like?”

There was a small pause for thought, then rather mournfully, “It looks like a kah-gah.”

The Dad and I exchanged glances.  We tried not to grin.  Neither of us had a clue.  Then I had what I thought was a bright idea.  Her brother often understands her better than we do.

“Fainjin, what does Babess want?”

“A kah-gah,” he said.  Oh dear.

“What does it look like?”

“I don’t know!” he laughed, “I don’t know what it is!”

We never did figure it out, either.

© UpsideBackwards 2010.

Sign of the times

November 15, 2010

When I was small, I had an old rotary-dial phone to play with.

All my children have their own toy cellphones.  I find it amusing that they have all carried on fluent conversations on them – with appropriate pauses – well before being able to talk back to a doting grandmother on a real phone.

But there have been generational advances even between the children.  Yesterday, Babess opened her toy cellphone, held it up in front of her towards The Dad, and said “Smile!”

It makes me wonder what my grandchildren’s toys will look like…

© UpsideBackwards 2010.

Best friends

October 2, 2010

A lovely thing about having children as close in age as Fainjin and Babess are, is listening to them talk to each other as equals.  Pearl talks with her siblings, of course, but she is that much older than them, and it shows in the way they communicate.

Pearl is having a holiday with Nana and Poppa at the moment, so we get to see how Fainjin and Babess interact without her around.  Of course, the first thing they did this morning was go looking for Pearl!  It was very sweet.

They’ve played wonderfully together all day, each coming up with games for them both to play, and improvements on each other’s suggestions.

At dinner-time, they were both more chatty than usual, and in particular were talking to each other rather than to us.  The Dad remarked to me that they almost have their own language!  I had no trouble understanding what they were talking about, but I do agree that they understand each other very well, perhaps better than any other person does.

© UpsideBackwards 2010.

7am: Pizza o’clock

August 29, 2010

Babess sat in her highchair this morning, made her devastatingly-cute face at me and said, “Pizza?  Pwease, Mama, I have pizza?”

Not what's for breakfast

It gave me pause, but I figured it out.  We sometimes have tinned fruit at breakfast.  A day or two ago, she had some peaches.  Close enough.  But we didn’t have any peaches left this morning, so she had an alternative.

She liked the other option so much that soon she was asking “More o’clock?  More o’clock?”  I was tempted to reply that we all want more hours in our day…  then I looked at the tin.


© UpsideBackwards 2010.

Big Girl talk

July 20, 2010

Tonight Babess spurned her usual toddler cutlery.  “Big girl fork!” she said.

“This one?” I held up a standard fork, it looks too big even to fit in her mouth.

“Yeah, thanks.”

When did she stop saying “Dan koo Mama”?!

© UpsideBackwards 2010.

Not a monkey

June 28, 2010

Babess and I ran some errands this morning, and got home about 11am.  She was very tired, and I told her it was nap-time.  “No!  I monkey!” she said.

“Yes, you’re a tired monkey,” I said.  “Now come and get a clean nappy.”

“I monkey!” she insisted, as I changed her.

“You’re a cute monkey!  But it’s time for bed,” I said.

She grimaced in frustration, the tears springing to her eyes.  “I MONKEY!” she wept.  It dawned on me (I’m a bit slow).

“Oh… you’re hungry?”


I fed her an early lunch, and she was much happier.  “Time for a nap now,” I said when she was done.  “No, Babess play with baby”, she said.

“No, nap time now!” I said.

She clamped her arms down at her sides to make it hard for me to get her out of her highchair and came out with another new sentence.

“I grumpy!”

© UpsideBackwards 2010.

I thought it couldn’t get any better…

June 22, 2010

Just over the past few nights – and one very early morning – Fainjin has been asking to go outside “in da daaaaark!” to see the stars.  And the moon, of course.  So, of course, I take him.  It has been very cold of late, but with mostly clear skies, certainly enough to see the moon and find a few stars.

It’s so lovely.  We wrap up in coats and go quietly down the stairs and out into the front yard, and look up.  His head tilts so far back I think he will fall over, and he whispers in awe, “Lookit da stars, Mummy!”  It has become a special little time in the day for just the two of us.

Tonight, after his shower, he asked to go out before storytime, so while the girls were getting washed we crept outside.  It was sooo cold! I knelt down beside him, and pointed out the Southern Cross, which was almost directly overhead.  I wasn’t sure whether he really understood what I was getting at, but he waved straight up when I asked him where it was, so he got that part.  We talked about going to the planetarium again to see all the pictures that the stars can make.

And then I saw it.  A bright light, moving quickly from north-ish to south-ish, descending from quite low in the sky already.  At first I thought “satellite”, but it was moving too quickly and was really very bright.  I managed to point it out to Fainjin and he saw it just before it disappeared behind the hills.

Today’s new word for him: “meteorite”.  (He rushed inside to tell The Dad and said he’d seen a “floating light”.)

© UpsideBackwards, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Kate @ UpsideBackwards with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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