July 17th, 2003

17 Jul 2003, by

I had dreams two nights in a row, but as I awoke and grasped for the fading images it was like they were so many cobwebs, disintegrating under the onslaught of my attention, leaving nothing but a sticky residue of confidence that I had dreamed many things but nothing now was left of them.

On Monday night, for the first time, Sophia said to me, “I don’t know.” We were sitting at the table and she was eating some pieces of pizza. She was looking down at her Peter Rabbit plate and so I asked her what was on her plate. I’ve asked her many times before so I know that she knows what it is, but the picture was covered by her food. I didn’t even realize she could express that she didn’t know the answer to a question. Usually if you ask her something she doesn’t know, she just pretends you didn’t say anything. However, on Monday she looked down, furrowed her brow and very clearly said, “I don’t know.” So I moved the pizza around on her plate until she could see the picture, and she correctly identified it as “bun-hop”. Her language development continues to delight me and take me by surprise.

She’s radically improving her use of pronouns. She now understands that “I” is a way for her to refer to herself. “I want to go outside,” she might say, or “I eating,” or “I go sleep.” The phase where she referred to herself as “Sophia” was quite brief. Now she uses Sophia to designate the possessive, “That’s Sophia shoes!” Sometimes she adds the possessive s at the end of her name, but often she leaves it off. Last week she came home from school saying “My name is Sophia.” so apparently through repetition they’ve taught her that her name can be the object of a sentence. Besides exemplary use of first person pronouns, she also uses the second person. “You eat it!” she’ll say, shoving her plate toward you when she’s had enough of her food. I haven’t yet heard her use third person pronouns, but I’m sure it won’t be long now, as she hears them quite a lot. She has also taken to, when given a choice, rejecting one item in the choice instead of choosing one. If I say “Sophia do you want to wear shoes or sandals to daycare today?” She might answer “No sandals!” instead of “Shoes.” Of course, often it’s “No sandals! No shoes!” but that’s just part of life with a two-year old. Sometimes, in fact, it’s hard to catch when she’s repeating what you’ve offered her and accepting it as opposed to when she’s rejecting something. You might ask, “Sophia would you like a banana?” And she will just as likely say “Baglagla!” as “No baglagla!” and the difference in sound between the two is not as great as it might be. She certainly is training us to to listen closely.

So, I have a confession to make. I’m a bad, bad mommy. This morning after Sophia had eaten her waffle, I was standing in the kitchen and she was sitting at her easel/table when she said,”Syrut”. What’s that? I asked her. She repeated herself. Hmmmm, ok, wait, I know this one. I know this one! Syrup? I asked her. “No syrup!” What, then? Again, the inscrutable “Syrut”. Shirt? Are you asking about a shirt? “No Shirt!” She’s starting to look exasperated. However, she’s determined. “Dsyrut” she says, very carefully and slowly. Dessert? I ask incredulously. She smiles winsomely, cocks her head coquettishly and agrees, “Desyrut”. She wants dessert. I was so thrilled that we’d made the connection, that I’d understood, that I rushed over to the refrigerator to see what I could find that might qualify as “dessert”. It did not occur to me that this child did not need, and probably should not have, dessert. My only thought was, hmmm, will she buy that yoghurt is a dessert? She really likes it, after all. No, that won’t do. What about ice cream? I can’t give her ice cream. That’d be ridiculous. Oh wait, here’s some mango sherbet. Well, it’s not like giving her ice cream, now, is it? After all, it has fruit, doesn’t it? So I filled a bowl with mango sherbet, and Sophia had dessert for second breakfast.

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17 Jul 2003, by

News Linkmania

Heard a fascinating interview on NPR a couple of days ago with Raymond McGovern of VIPS. On Monday, that organization issued an open letter to the president that, among other things, called for Cheney’s resignation. I snooped around on the web and found the text of the open letter and an interview with Raymond McGovern. Very interesting reading.

In other astonishing news, the city of Buenos Aires will make history on Friday as becoming the first city in South America to legalize same sex civil unions.

Last but not least, owing to my lifelong interest in language and translation, I found this article aired by NPR on the difficulties of translating certain of the President’s phrasings very thought provoking. There’s something unabashedly and unashamedly self-centered about making no effort whatsoever to de-colloquialize your speech for the world. I think it perfectly reflects the administration’s view that other countries are unimportant and that effectively relaying what we have to say to them is an afterthought, at best.

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