I don’t know if this is true for all children, but one of the things that Eleanor seems to enjoy most these days is making up words. While holding a book open to show off the pictures, she’ll often string together entire sentences of nothing but sounds – just gibberish. Although her “words” carry no meaning to us, while she’s “reading” she still uses intonation and facial expression as if the story she’s telling makes perfect sense to her.
Perhaps it’s completely normal. Or maybe it’s the result of our time abroad? I always thought that she spoke a bit late (I have distinct memory of watching the video of the son of some friends who, just a couple of weeks older than Eleanor, was clearly saying things like “I jump” and “I see monkeys” when Eleanor was still just grunting and pointing). At the time I wondered if it was because she was hearing so much Swahili; now I think it’s probably just because kids develop differently (duh!).
Lately, this interest has extended to making up names. Sometimes they, too, are just a series of sounds, but other times she’ll use a couple of English words to make up a new name.
“My name is zucchini tree,” she said the other day as we were walking home from the grocery store. “What’s your name?”
“Spinach truck,” I said.
“And you’re banana haircut,” she said pointing at Oliver.
I usually carry on with this for a while, until just about the point that she seems like she’s tiring of the game. It’s at this point that I just can’t help myself with a final “my name is” homage to Arrested Development.
(next time I’ll have to remind her that, for nearly a year, her name was Eleanora)