Your first word was “Dada,” for which I’m eternally proud. It was almost something much less endearing.
Mommy and I like to think of ourselves as decent cooks. Not trusting the salt levels and other contents in mass produced infant food, we made our own, a laborious but fun task in the kitchen making purees and porridge, always, always layering in different flavor combinations (hrm… maybe your foodie tendencies are our fault) and always giving you new and sometimes exotic ingredients (Epipen at the ready) to try. We were rewarded with your willingness to eat new things and your appetite and your smile when you found something new that you liked. Shrimp, caramelized onions, lobster, carrots, garlic, shitake mushrooms, curry powder, beef, and beef stock were your favorites. That isn’t to say that you didn’t act like a baby and occasionally try to repaint the walls with your dinner, but we really couldn’t complain.
You started speaking at nine months with a handful of the usual infant words, “Dada,” “Mama,” but you still relied more on sign language to communicate with us. Your typical conversations with us at nine months consisted mainly of saying our names until you got our attention, and then using your hands to tell us what you wanted.
One night, when we sat down to dinner, you pointed at a bowl containing a new mash that Mommy wanted to try (a red bean of some sort) on you. “Mama”, you said. “Food, please. Hungry.” you signed, and opened your mouth wide for a big bite. In the spoon went, and suddenly your face scrunched up as if you’d stubbed your toe. “THIS SUCKS!”
Loud, clearly enunciated, and accurately used. “THIS SUCKS!” you repeated, spitting out the bite.
After you were born, Mommy and I were very, very careful with our word choices around you, and we scratched our heads for the longest time that night wondering how you could have learned these words.