A world in 20 words.

If you could sum up your world in 20 words what would they be? My almost-18-month-old has 20, and they seem to do her fine.

She started with “shoes” at 15 months. Which scared me, a lot. I’m in no way a shoe-person and I had images of a little princess in high heels. But I think it developed from a Chinese habit. When we lived in China, the first thing we’d all do when we came in from outside was take off our shoes. And we still do. It feels really weird to have shoes on inside the house. So, once she worked out that she could make words with her mouth, as soon as we got in the door, she’d point to her feet and say “SHOES!”, though it kinda sounded like “ʤu:ʒ”.

At 16 months, we soon heard “nana” for banana. A non-surprise there, since it’s her favourite food. This was sooned followed by “toes”. This one is totally my fault, as she sleeps in a sleeping bag and I got into the habit of saying “Where are your toes?” when she woke up. Now, as soon as one of us goes in to get her out of the cot, all she does is shout “TOES!”. Whoops. My husband quipped that he guessed I wouldn’t be doing the same game with our second one, but I think Adella will have this in hand on my behalf.

Next came “flower“, which is a tricky one to say and sounds more like an aspirated “wawa”, but developed from the habit of picking a flower everytime she went for a walk with Grandma. We continued this, and now we need to pick a flower each time we leave the house, or visit the backyard. Luckily we have a couple of huge bushes of daisies.

Sheep” and “lion” are her favourite toys. Sheep is a massively excited screech that goes “SHEEEEEEEEEE!” and for lion, she wiggles her tongue from side to side in an open mouth to get a “lblblblb” sound.

And, in no particular order, she has quickly learnt to say chair, car, Dada, dog, cup, bib, clock, bye-bye, hat, pants, top, hat, help and off. Combine this with a little baby sign language, and what more could you need?

And where is the most important one, you ask? Mama?? Mummy??? As much as it saddens me to say, she just can’t make that ‘mm’ sound properly yet. Not combined with vowels anyway. It pulls at my heart when she points out Dada in a photo of the two of us, but not me. But she’ll get there. When necessity strikes!

I guess we just have to stop swearing now, before she picks that up too.

What was your/ your child’s first word?