When Sophie was born, I had big plans for what her first word was going to be.
It was either going to be Daddy, Jesus or Rovers or perhaps a weird and wonderful hybrid of the three. (A bit of an insight into the experiences our baby girl has had over the last 14 months!).
I always thought that emitting your first word was a seminal moment, where somehow you graduate from full-on screaming and crying to politely discussing current affairs (at nursery!) over milk and biscuits. A bit like Stewie from Family Guy, only without the crudeness and psychotic tendencies!
That’s why I used to pester my own Mum and Dad to reveal their “secret” of what my first word was.
Turns out it’s not quite that simple!
Sophie has been making babbling noises for months now. It’s usually at some unearthly hour in the morning when we hear her discussing the news of the day or simply the content of her dreams with the teddies in her cot. The cuteness of that image drastically reduces in proportion to the amount of time it is before 7am when we hear it!
Nevertheless, that conversational practice is undoubtedly having an effect on her social skills.
Her babbling has been on a journey from making karate-esque HA-YA! (Hiya, perhaps?) to forming recognisable sounds and words over the last few months. It’s really quite exciting, although the moment she starts quoting Leviticus chapter 16 still seems a bit far away!
What I’m left trying to work out now is what her actual first word was. Simply standing over her going; “Can you say Grandad?” repeatedly does not quite seem to be having the desired effect just yet. She may emit a whispered “ssh-Dad” noise but I can’t tell if that’s a genuine attempt to repeat what I said or simply an instruction I am to follow!
We’ve definitely got somewhere and she has been using the English language for herself. Only yesterday for example, she came in from time at the park with my wife and rushed into the kitchen to see me while simultaneously going; “Dadadadada” at the top of her voice.
This isn’t the first time this has happened – not by a long stretch. In fact, she particularly likes to rattle that one off at all sorts of times of the day, usually meaning I am required to run into her room and attend to her every need. It is really special though for her to properly acknowledge me and fills me with this warm glow every time.
She has certainly said “Mamama” as well on a number of occasions and they have definitely been aimed at her Mummy. I wonder if on the first time it may have had something to do with the fact Mummy was holding some precious golden Carrot Stix in her hands and was heading towards Sophie at that very moment.
And I’m going to keep seeking to expand her new vocabulary. As a primary school teacher, I’m very au fait with the age-old adage ‘Children should be seen and not heard’ and constant encouragement of my child to use her voice properly may well come back to haunt me in the future.
It is cute though!