I’ve been looking after Squiffany today, which has been a pleasure as usual. She is not at present a particularly mischievous little girl and I don’t expect mayhem if she wanders out of the room to rummage in the kitchen. I always find small babies a bit hard to look after; for the first few months they mostly seem to be demanding of time and easily upset, so that they cry a good deal and only stop if I walk around with them, which for someone as half-asleep as me is a strain. As they grow, they want entertaining, but can’t do much. Once a child develops a vocabulary, or at least understands yours, however, it’s a different matter.
I have a feeling that some babies don’t enjoy their first few months very much either. My younger son was a most fractious infant, until he learned to speak. With his first word, which was “da”, he became a different baby.
It was a useful word. It meant ‘water’ and extended its scope to indicate anything to do with the liquid. With it, he could ask for a drink, remark that it was raining, enthuse at the sight of the sea, tell me that he enjoyed his bath and, in being repeated, it became another word altogether and meant his father.