The first word.
At around the age of 6 months my little girl started to make noise. Word-like noise. Consonant-like noise. My wife and I were excited. We were poised to hear her first word. Would it be “daddy”, “mommy” or a third option that no one would believe? Brouhaha, maybe? Hopefully.
The first word is one of those massive milestones that everyone asks about. It’s only natural to want it to happen sooner rather than later. So you begin listening for words. Any utterance sounds like a word. You start to hear things. Luckily, we wouldn’t have to wait long. Mere days later, she said her first word. Surprisingly, it was in Russian.
The word was “Da”. It’s Russian for yes.
She says this word repeatedly, often stringing it into sentences that go like this, “da da da da da.” When she speaks she has no control over the pitch or volume of her voice. Sometimes she’s whispering, other times she’s screaming. For the record, neither my wife nor I are Russian. Though one of my wife’s favorite movies is The Hunt for Red October.
Here is a typical conversation between my daughter and myself:
“Do you like those trees?’
“Do you have a stinky diaper?”
“Is it bad for daddy to leave you in your pajamas all day?”
“Was Sean Connery’s accent in The Hunt for Red October an insult to the Russian people?”
You may say that I’m reading too much into my daughter’s simple babbling. Maybe, but when you spend most of the working day with a baby you’re really spending all day talking to yourself. You have few true conversations. You’d be surprised by how much you miss those mundane work conversations. So even the idea of having a conversation that isn’t one-sided is very appealing. I just wish I knew how to speak Russian.