Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Words, words, words...

Last week my buddy Noah turned me on to a new comedian named Bo Burnham who has a one hour special called "Words, words, words." Burnham is a nineteen year-old, self-made YouTube star, who plays the guitar and the piano, sings, pushes the comedic envelop, and is an incredible wordsmith. At one point in his show, in response to traditional comedians who frown upon the use of instruments or props, Burnham claims, "I don't need that stuff. I can do straight comedy," standing very still in front of his mic he continues, "What do you call a guy with no arms or legs and an eye patch?"

"Names," he blurts and throws confetti he'd pulled from his pants into the audience. That still makes me giggle.

On the home front, Amari is also all about words, words, words. She comes out with new ones every day, and she appears to be gaining confidence and momentum. A couple of weeks ago she finally came out with the word "No." Although we've been saying it to her for months, she never said it back. She used words like "Yeah," and "Kay," often, decisively, even enthusiastically, but the head shake was her go to rejection move. Now she the word.

As are many things with toddlers, "No" was initially adorable. "Watch this we'd boast," asking Amari if she wanted to change her diaper or take a nap. I even managed to train her to respond to the question "What does Dada say?" with a confident "No, no, no." She would even sing the word sometimes, making whatever she was saying no to completely and utterly meaningless. "Do you want to brush your teeth?" Singing melodically (sort of), "Noooooo."

Okay, whatever you want, sweetie.

More recently, however, no has taken on a life of its own. While she used to be perfectly happy with most songs we listen to in the car, she's now like a veteran pitcher shaking off the signs from their rookie catcher. "No," next song, "No," fast forward, "No," and so on until I get the merciful "Yeah/Kay," which invariably leads to listening to that song six or seven times. If her no is ignored, she lets me hear about it. Same goes with the home movies she used to watch indiscriminately. The Power of No is strong with this one.

Other times, the words aren't so clear. A couple of mornings ago Amari woke up and started pointing above our bed and saying what sounded like "Ele-plan." We have a giant, Indian, hanging with Ganesh on the wall directly above our pillows, so I assumed and was very impressed that she was saying, "Elephant." Carrie, my English teaching wife, thought she was pointing at our ceiling fan and saying, "Air-o-plane." This, of course, led to an elaborate argument on my part as to why that was the most ridiculous thing I'd ever heard. Why on earth would she suddenly think fans are airplanes? Blah, blah, blah. Later that very day, however, Amari pointed to the ceiling fan at my brother's house and very clearly said, "Eloplan."

Although words present a whole new range of challenges, I'm really looking forward to having long and ridiculous conversations with my daughter...

Here are a few of the videos I made recently. Soon I'll have to turn down the music  so we can hear what she's saying.

Amari and friends ride our horse: http://www.vimeo.com/25542857

Animal noises with Hunter: http://www.vimeo.com/23531586

Welcome to Serena: http://www.vimeo.com/25461697

There are lots on the site once you get there, so feel free to look around.

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