“Oh no! Fuck!”
The words from ZK’s sweet voice echoed through the galleries at the art museum. It’s not like I taught her to say that…well, not like you might think. True, I’m quite well known for my vulgar vocabulary and the speed with which I often resort to using it. But in this case, I am innocent. In her own little toddler way of trying to replicate the sounds of words that she hears, when ZK says what sounds like the word “fuck” she is trying to say the word “frog.”
In the art museum she saw a mechanical from on the lower floor. Her repetition of the phrase “Oh no! Fuck!” was her way of telling us she wanted to go back to see it. In most cases, we (mostly I) get a good laugh out of her error. It helps that she really likes frogs and points them out every time she sees one (which is often). It was, I admit, a bit uncomfortable in the museum, however.
This has created a whole series of funny situations. Inspired by her innocent expletive, I said to Jenni and Pat, “maybe I should just start using the phrase ‘frog you’ instead.” ZK chimed in from the background “Fuck you!” And later, while getting stitches removed from my back, the nurse and I were talking about how ZK’s at an age were we really have to watch what we say. “And sometimes even innocent words cause trouble,” I said, “like ‘frog.'” ZK responded as if on cue. The nurse and I laughed so hard that it was difficult for her to continue removing the stitches.
Her language abilities seem to improve exponentially now. This is a wonderful time for us. She can express what’s bothering her (which makes it so much easier to find a solution) and seems to enjoy asking for hugs and kisses. “Wanna hug? Okay” is, perhaps, her most repeated expression. Her hugs are so wonderful! But she’s also discovered that she can combine her new language skills with a little bit of deception to get what she wants. For example, she likes to walk on her own and doesn’t like riding in her stroller as much anymore. She discovered that when she asks for hugs we pull her out of the stroller to do so. Using this information she sometimes asks for a hug only to squirm from our arms saying “wanna walk!” Tricksy.