‘Dah’ made all the difference

Three-legged Cat
has written a post which brought back memories of my younger son, Ro, when he was a baby. He grew up to be relaxed and good-humoured, but he was certainly the least happy of all my children at the start. He seemed to both want and reject me at the same time; he woke frequently at night and appeared to be generally frustrated by life.

When he was ten months (or whatever age children are when this happens) old, he learned his first word. Unsurprisingly, it wasn’t ‘mama’. It was ‘dah’. This proved to be vastly useful – it meant ‘water’. There are few more useful words than water. When thirsty, he could ask for ‘dah’. When it was raining, he could point at the window and comment knowledgeably on the weather. We lived by the sea, and he could remark on the scenery. He was, at last, able to communicate and he loved it. He was also able to talk to his father by name, because if you can say ‘dah’ you can say ‘dada’.

Things improved further as time went on and he became more independent. We bought him a slide, which he enjoyed, but the matching swing wasn’t so popular – he had to be lifted into it and then be swung. We moved house the day before his second birthday: the friends who bought our house had a little girl of about the same age and she loved the swing, so we gave it to her as a housewarming present. He hated the car seat and screamed every time he was put in it – car journeys were miserable times. When he was three, he developed severe car sickness, so I suspect this was a major part of his distress.

What still seems remarkable to me was the change in his nature as he grew older. When he was born, and in view of the 8-year age gap between him and his older brother, we were thinking in terms of having a fourth child. But when he was a month old, I looked at the Sage and said “we won’t be having another, will we?” Thank goodness for a doting elder brother and sister, who took a good deal of the strain off me – they became thoroughly neglected themselves, as there was only so much time and emotional energy I had. But by the time he was three, he was absolutely lovely.

I suppose, as a baby, he must have thought I was extremely thick. No wonder he was frustrated. Learning his first word, and realising we could understand him at last, transformed his life.

7 comments on “‘Dah’ made all the difference

  1. Dave

    When he was ten months (or whatever age children are when this happens) old’

    Isn’t it The Law that mothers are supposed to remember every event in their baby’s life, and recount it in minute detail?

  2. sablonneuse

    Going back to your plastic bag drive (I’ve just had the time to read through the posts I’d missed lately) I’d have thought English supermarkets etc would have caught on with the idea here. You buy a substantial carrier bag that is supposed to last for ‘life’ because when it’s worn out they undertake to replace it free. However, I’ve yet to see anyone get a replacement as I suspect, like me, they often forget to bring enought bags with them and have to buy at least one more. Personally, I have quite a collection which I find useful for carrying bottles to the bottle bank, storing things in the attic etc. and there are always several waiting to be used for shopping. . .
    By the way, how is Val?

  3. Z

    ‘Ad’? Or ‘Had’? But what would he have meant, John?

    S, at least one major supermarket does just that with its ‘Bag For Life’ scheme, where the large and sturdy plastic bag costs an initial 10 and is replaced free, and has been doing it for some years.

    I asked Val’s husband on Saturday; she’s feeling a little stronger but is still in pain. They have a possible diagnosis of an autoimmune problem, and are going to test for that.

  4. Brom

    Reminds me of that old one…

    Where the mam and dad are constantly prompting “Mam, mam, mam – dad, dad, dad” and the kids first word is.. “Dam”

  5. Z

    My d-i-l almost never swears – but on the one occasion, that was the word young Squiffany picked up.

    I have to be quite careful as I swear like a fish


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