b Papa Dog's Blog: Once in a Lullaby

Papa Dog's Blog

A Thing Wherein I Infrequently Write Some Stuff

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Once in a Lullaby

Just when I thought Baby Dog’s verbal development could no longer amaze me, she went and made another very unexpected leap. She’s been expanding her conversational skills: “What does the cow say?” “Moo!” “What does the kittycat say?” “Mao!” “What does the owl say?” “Oo!” “What does the doggy say?” “(Barking noise.)” She continues to surprise with evidence of hitherto unsuspected retention of vocabulary. For ages she’s known her squeaky Buddha toy by name, but recently she’s managed to say it herself – sort of. It comes out something like “Bubba,” or maybe “Boobah.” And now when I sing her The Torch Singer, not only does she say “Mum!” when I get to the part about “order my money around,” she also looks up at me with a big grin and says “Ha ha!” when I get to the part about “the Sunday funnies.” “Funny,” see. I didn’t even notice I was teaching her that word, but every time she’s laughed since she first learned how, I’ve said “Is that funny?” And it is funny. She can be thoroughly in the grip of bedtime crankiness, flopping about in my lap and making noises of complaint for injustices suffered, but when I get to the “Sunday funnies” line, she always pauses in her tantrum to give me a smile and a “Ha!” before continuing to fuss. Once or twice, when I’ve done the bit about “bar whiskey and pain,”* she’s said “Ball!” The whole thing has become kind of like a Rocky Horror show, with a whole ritualised set of calls and responses.

All this is really more of the same, though – just elaborations on abilities she already had. What’s been really surprising is the business with the musical stuffed butterfly. This has been Baby Dog’s go-to-sleep toy since we first started her sleeping in her own crib, though its efficacy in the soporific department is a tad questionable. What it chiefly has to recommend itself is the lullaby version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” that plays when you pull its string. We would set her down in the crib, kiss her goodnight, pull the string to let the song play, say “night night,” and leave the room. Then she’d cry until we finally gave up and tried some other tactic to get her to sleep. A month or two back, we began to notice the music playing in Baby Dog’s room when we weren’t present. Somewhere along the line, she’d figured out how to pull the string herself. Just the other day, Mama Dog discovered the capper: Baby Dog is singing along to “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” She just manages a few notes: more “Da da da” than “Da da, da, dada, da, da,” and of course she doesn’t know the words—but she’s right on key, which already puts her ahead of Daddy. Definitely this is something she gets from her mother’s side.
*That’s how I’ve always heard the line, though I know the lyrics I link to here say “For whiskey and pain.”.


Blogger Twizzle said...

Our girl's musically -- as well as verbally -- gifted!

9:10 PM  
Blogger Judy said...

Isn't it FUN???? It is a new beginning for them every day. Don't miss a beat!

8:12 AM  

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