ZK’s ears are sharp.
“S’ok! S’ok,” she says as she runs towards me, arms outstretched, and jumps into my arms.
The first time it happened I didn’t understand what was wrong. A few seconds later, I heard the wail of the siren approaching. Then I understood.
She hasn’t always been afraid of sirens. Until about two months ago she really liked them. Fire trucks, police cars, ambulances, any thing with flashing lights and sirens caught her in excitement. However, one ambulance turned on its siren to respond to a call while right beside us. The sound was ear shattering for all of us and it scared the jumpin’-Jesus out of ZK. From that day on, when she hears the approach of a siren she seeks the comfort of her parents arms and says reassuringly to herself (or maybe it’s to us) “S’ok! S’ok.”
Other noises now scare her too. The other day when went on a “bus adventure” to visit another area of town. Throughout the walk to the transit station ZK talked about the bus, pointed out buses as they passed on the street, and commented on their color. At the transit center we sat together and waited for ours to arrive. She was eager and awestruck.
When our bus arrived, we stood up to enter but the air brakes released a loud and quick “HSS”. ZK squealed and refused to step on board. So when I picked her up to enter she held on so tightly that it felt like she wanted to pass right through me. She refused to let go for the entire trip. Fortunately, the trip lasted only 15 minutes and we were able to create a new song out of it that was mostly a bunch of “tout va bien, tout va bien bien” with a smattering of “Booboos” thrown in for good measure.
We went to our favorite mall, visited our favorite toystore, and rode the carousel with some other lil’kiddos (ZK liked showing them how it’s done). All the while she was saying Hi to nearly everyone who passed and they, in turn, commented on how lovely her new boots and hat were.
We ended our little excursion with a stop in our familiar stomping ground…the good ole S.B. Once again ZK pointed to the mermaid and said “princesse” (pronounced with a French accent…it means princess in English). The highlight for her was the pumpkin bread which, in her still developing vocabulary, she calls either “cookie” (pronounced like “kooky”) in English but not exactly correct in meaning, or “gâteau” in French which is a bit closer in meaning.
It wasn’t such a bad day. The return trip improved when ZK say a little girl her age sitting in front of us on the bus. They smiled at each other, said “hi” a LOT, and did all kindsa bashful smiling with requisite shy-shoulder shrugging.
In other news:
Occasionally there are times when parents must act as translators for their toddlers. This is usually because the kiddos are only just beginning to grasp the whole oral articulation thing and sometimes really mangle the words. One in particular, a linguistic metathesis, is ZK’s pronunciation of music as mikis. I enjoy it so much that I often want to call her “Miss Mikis.”
Here are some of other words from ZK’s idiolect:
fée = fairy, or elf, or mermaid, or young girl
butt = button, or bellybutton
beek = big
beenie = lima bean
day-on (it’s hard to transcribe this one) = dragon
deppy = step
C’est (pronounced ‘say’) = this/that is