Digger is learning to speak at the moment.
His parents think it is coming on apace.
A friend turned to face me the other day, when we were playing with our kids:
‘I understand what Digger is saying!! I did! Wow. To me he always just sounded like that Swedish Cook from the Muppet Show.’ I know exactly what this friend means…
Certain Digger sounds can have a multitude of meanings. Or rather certain groups of words sound completely alike to my ear, but not to his. Thus ‘DdSsshhhyyyttzz’ can be ‘pacifier’, ‘sleep’, ‘milk’, ‘juice’ or ‘sshhyyyy’ or a lot of other things.
I am getting better at guessing.
Currently, conversations between Digger and me often go something like this:
“Juice?! Are you thirsty?’
‘Sleep? Are you tired? Sleepy?
‘Help me, darling... I really don’t understand. Show me.’
Digger sighs audibly. And drags me to the fridge where he pulls out a yogurt.
Once or twice he has broken down in tears because his mother is so dim.
Real heartbroken sobs. Nobody-understands-me-kind-of-sobs.
But when I do get it right he raises his little arms above his head, palms raised to the sky and shouts ‘YAAESSHH!’ and beams. Then we move on.
It is the same thing if he gets upset and I am not sure why. As we have learned and as I have learned the hard way is the quickest, nicest, more direct way of dealing with upsets, I pull him close – if he will let me – and start digging….
‘Are you sad because I left the room?’ He shakes his head. ‘Are you sad because you wanted to stay here in your room?’ Shakes his head. ‘Sad because you don't want to go to the park?’
Often I’m wrecking my brain to find other plausible explanations. At 32 months he does seem do want me to put words to his thoughts and feelings, and he likes it when I try to guess. So I look around… trying to find visual clues. Wooden blocks are strewn all over the floor. Evidence of Digger and Daddy’s morning routine.
‘Are you sad because you want to play with your blocks …’ ‘Are you sad because you miss daddy?’ Nods vigorously and sobs loudly. ‘And sad because playing with the blocks made you think of him?’ ‘YEEEAASH!’ Then he sobs some more, wipes his nose, cuddles, snuggles. Then gets up and goes to put on his shoes so we can go to the park. Right as rain again.
It is such a wonderful capacity. To be so happy when I (or Daddy) get it right. Then he can let it go. And move on.
‘So you are angry, because I didn’t buy you any flowers on Mother’s Day?’ I might wish my husband would ask me. ‘YES!’ Wouldn’t it be great if it were that easy to acknowledge feelings of hurt and then to move on? Really move on. No hang ups. No coming back later on the same subject. No need to.
The flowers are not really a hang up of my – but you get the idea… other things may be...
I’m taking note of Digger’s straight up emotions and how he deals with them, and I’m trying new things in my interaction with my husband too. Trouble is … we spend more time guessing at what Digger is feeling than what we are. Same old same old… There is simply less time for each other when you get a kid.
We Digger parents agree that recently, it has been a major lesson for both of us to realise just how much he appreciates it when we take our time to keep guessing with him. And how getting it right means moving on. We can learn from that.