The Baby has been chatty of late. She has identified the key words and phrases of the English language, and has been using them with gusto. Now, many of you may be surprised to learn what the most significant words and phrases in the English language, as set out below, actually are (particularly as one of them would appear to be French). Please do not be embarrassed: few are able to attain the lofty heights of The Baby’s grasp on linguistics. The correct frequency and proper usage for the word ‘duck’, for example, is understood by woefully few people. In an effort to re-educate, therefore, here are the words you need to know, and how you should be using them.
The Baby’s unrequited love affair with the cat continues. ‘Cat’ was probably her first clear word, after the usual ‘mama’ and ‘dada’. The Baby likes to make sure everyone is aware of the cat’s location at all times. She will jab her finger insistently in the cat’s direction and yell, ‘Cat! Cat!’ Should The Baby’s cat location services ever be specifically called upon with an actual query about where the cat is, The Baby is beside herself with glee: ‘Cat! Cat!’ The cat tries her best to be inconspicuous. Sorry, cat, like a tiny Liam Neeson: The Baby will look for you, she will find you, and she will point at you.
2. The Toddler
Of course, The Baby isn’t actually saying ‘The Toddler’. That would be weird. But she has started to say The Toddler’s real name. She first did this on an outing to the common, whilst The Toddler was running around and hiding behind trees. The Baby pointed at her: ‘The Toddler! The Toddler!’ It had come to The Baby’s attention that, like the cat, The Toddler was trying to hide. As with the cat, The Baby wasn’t having any of it. Never attempt to go incognito around The Baby. She will identify you. Loudly and repeatedly.
The Baby also likes to use her new word to request that The Toddler partake in her favourite game: peekaboo. She shouts, ‘The Toddler!’ The Toddler looks up. The Baby covers her eyes and giggles. The Baby repeats the process. Just a few times. The Toddler obligingly plays peekaboo. She was personally requested, after all.
3. Duck and quack
Presumably these words came from Sarah and Duck (the recent addition of ‘sayer duck’ to The Baby’s repertoire would seem to support this). Ducks occur to The Baby at random times, following which she will spend a pleasant fifteen or so minutes happily hollering, ‘Duck! Duck! Duck! Quack! Duck! Duck!’ As The Toddler has recently discovered the cupboard where the juggling balls are kept, and has taken to using them as missiles, The Baby’s love of chatting about ducks doubles as good safety advice.
4. Frere Jacques
The Toddler has been singing Frere Jacques a lot lately. Being a good, doting little sister, The Baby has therefore decided this is her favourite song. She bursts into ‘rehreh jacka’ at regular intervals, and is delighted when people join in. If people don’t join in, The baby offers light encouragement. Which is to say she relentlessly screeches, ‘Rehreh jacka! Rehreh jacka!’
When throwing and catching are taking place, The Baby likes to be involved. She likes to ensure that it is clear that she is involved by shouting ‘catch’ whenever anyone else says ‘catch’. It should be noted that, for all the shouting of ‘catch’, very little catching actually occurs. Though Baby can claim a better catching record than The Toddler – she has occasionally caught balls with her face, at least. The Baby’s reaction to being hit in the face with a ball? ‘Catch!’