Out of the Mouths of Babes..


There comes a wonderful time in your child’s life when they utter their first words. For both Liam and Hannah it started with dada, followed closely by baba, then tata AND THEN MOST IMPORTANTLY … MAMA. I waited almost a year for Liam to actually call me MAMA – I bore you in my womb for 9 months, gained 18 kilograms for you, pulled all nighters with you, bathed and fed you. I grant you your hearts desires at a whim and you call me by name LAST? But I digress..

When your little one starts talking, it begins a wonderful journey for both of you, as you learn to understand what he’s saying versus what he means. Later on, his sentences will confuse and amuse you, you’ll learn to watch your every word as his little ears pick up on everything that comes out of your mouth, he learns about tone and how the WAY you say something means more than what you actually say. He will embarrass you in public, asking weird questions relating to bodily functions and telling complete strangers to say pardon when they sneeze or cough. He’ll get frustrated trying to explain what he means, when you can’t understand – as if he’s Punjabi/German sounds completely normal to my English ears.

Liam started talking before he could walk. His babbling sounded like a foreign language and it was constant. He may have his father’s good looks, but he has his mother’s motor-mouth. It usually starts with a bright “good morning mum” as he opens his eyes. Although “good morning” isn’t reserved for mornings only. He says good morning at 4pm or 7pm or whenever he needs to greet anyone. He exchanges this with a simple “hi” depending on his mood. He is very expressive and gesticulates with every action word – with big eyes and flapping arms, he can show me how the “twees are blowing cos its vewy weendy” or how “mummy “mack Hannah’s bum cos Hannah naaawty gurl.”

The downside to all of this..the constant questions, do you recall a Standard Bank advertisement where the little boy keeps asking his dad why?why?why? until his father says “because you have a very enquiring mind.” Yes it was cute on tv, but becomes somewhat annoying in real life. And whereas he can be very polite, saying “bless you” after you sneeze and please and thank you right on cue, he can also be brusque, downright rude and disobedient yelling “NOOOO” or “you naawty” or “don’t do dat” or “leave me.” You didn’t think they were all cute and cuddly, did you?

As his vocabulary continues to grow, and I see him watching my mouth as I pronounce words he hasn’t heard before, I am amazed at his sponge-like ability to grasp new things so quickly. The human mind is remarkable; wonderfully and fearfully made by our Creator. I am slightly concerned at his American twang, but Barney will do that to you, I’ll need to curb the amount of time he spends being hypnotised by our favourite purple dinosaur – this is Africa boy!

In closing, I thought I’d jot down a few Liam-nisms and I’ll continue to grow the list as he spits them out!

  • Make a noise – make the radio or tv louder.
  • Bamana – Banana
  • Mookies – Music
  • Crocodon – Crocodile 
  • Cool – School
  • Gwanny – americanised granny
  • Cuppa tea – cuppa tea, but to hear a two year old ask for a cuppa tea is worth mentioning!
  • And my personal favourite “I need” instead of I want. E.g. I need to have a sweet, I need to draw on the couch, I need to press the hooter now. But funny how he never NEEDS to sleep?
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