Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Ah Dee Bee?

Yesterday Maia and I went down to St. Paul to drop off my job application. The building we were going to is near the Capitol, and as we walked past, Maia saw a statue and said in an awed voice, "Man!"

"That's Floyd Olson, Minnesota's Farmer-Labor governor," I said.

"Foyd Oh-sen? Foyd Oh-sen!"

"Yes! And see the golden horses on the top of the Capitol? Pretty."

"Doh-den horsies! Doh-den! Boo-ful!"

She then made up a little song about Floyd Olson, the original Minnesota radical, which involved repeating his name lovingly for about five minutes.

I tell this story to make the point that Maia can say just about anything she wants to, now. It's not always intelligible, but if she repeats it enough times, we generally pick up on what she's saying.

The other day she followed me around saying, "Dess? Wat? Dess? Wat?" until I realized she was saying, "Guess what?" I stopped and said, "What?" She beamed and pointed at a toy she had dropped and said, "Eh-pain fall down!"

"No way!" I said.

"No WAY!" she hollered back.

Some things are, admittedly, odd -- when she says "switch sides," it sounds depressingly like "suicide," which is a disturbing thing to hear when I'm nursing her before bed.

The one thing that has us stumped, though, is "Ah dee bee." As near as we can tell, it means, "Look at that!" or "How about that!" But sometimes it's phrased as a question: "Ah dee BEE?" At these times, it appears to mean "What is that?"

The strange thing about this, though, is that she was perfectly capable of saying "Dat?" and "Dis?" to ask about the existential nature of things. But those words seem to have dropped from her vocab in favor of "Ah dee bee."

We've asked her what it means. We answer "ah dee bee" in different ways, and she always seems happy with what we say. Finally, in response to "ah dee bee?" a few days ago, I said, "Dee BEE!"

She lit up, pleased, and said, "DEE BEE!" as if she had just found out we shared an obscure language. Unfortunately, dee bee is all I know.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. Now I'm going to be thinking about that all night...I think our girls are within a few weeks of each other, age-wise, so I'm pretty fluent in toddlerese, but--wow.
    I used to sing the Boy "What a Wonderful World it Would Be", which has the line "Don't know much about the French I took." It took me days to get it when he asked me to sing him the song I used to sing about the french fries I stole.

    ReplyDelete