First Words

Delaney and Hayden are slowly picking up the idea of language. They are great babble-ers, and they've acquired a few bits and pieces worthy of noting. It's also worthy of noting where these bits and pieces have come from. Bet you can guess some of them.

From our island nanny Sharla: ask them "where's Uno," and they will raise one finger. Ask them "where's Dos," and they will look around for a dog.

From our friend and Hartford nanny Kelsey, who spent July here with us: ask them how to say "More, please" and they will tap their fingers together using the correct sign language. This happens now with most meals, particularly if spaghetti, grapes, or hot dogs were on the menu. Also from Kelsey, ask them how to say "Stinky," and they will grab their noses. We will always credit dear Kelsey with More and Stinky.

From their Daddy, the obvious: ask them what a Dog says and "Woof" is their clearest answer yet. But "Woof" has taken on an even deeper meaning in our house. I recently read an article on how to develop spirituality in your baby, and it suggested that you routinely talk to kids about God. So one night as we went through our familiar bedtime ritual -- "Goodnight Moon, Goodnight Sun" -- I added "Goodnight God." And what did Delaney say? "Woof!"

Delaney's latest effort makes me even prouder. Point to a picture on the wall and ask her what it is, and she'll say, "ARR(t)." Usually a silent (t), but sometimes the whole T. That's my girl.

Not to be left undone, Hayden is sending strong signals that his first word will be inspired either by the floor or by the ceiling. He is obsessed with our 32 ceiling fans and insists that we turn each one on, room by room, as part of his wake-up call. His other morning request is that Daddy pick up the bugs, one by one, that have silently succombed during the night (and since it's the tropics, there are a lot of them). It's how Hayden creates order in his world: get the air moving and the bugs removed. Not a bad philosophy, overall.

For me, I'm slowly learning my first words of Spanish. More useful than "Como Estas?" has turned out to be the phrase, "Si, Gemelos." Yes, they are twins. Islanders love their children and twins are an especially interesting phenomenon. Looking out for Delaney and Hayden are assorted store clerks, security guards, waiters and bartenders, produce-scale weighers, sheep herders, and our gardener, Senor Gomez. It's likely that Gomez will be among the first to hear their first words, because they can't wait to run outside each day to see what he has planted in their front yard.

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