Tuesday, April 6, 2010

a budding two year old

Izzy. . . unh-hunh!

so quick
to the eye-to-the-eye,
to the smile,
to the word,
to repeating the word,
whether we get it or not,

she understands far more that she hears
than she can find the sounds to let us understand
the detail of what she knows, wants, feels,
like the caricature of an American in a foreign land
who can’t speak the language,
she increases her volume, repeats the sounds,
and gets stymied for awhile if what is in our head
doesn’t match what’s in hers,

I can’t tell if her mind needs more words
to allow thought to increase in complexity,
or if the complexity is there and just bides its time
until it can train the messengers to get it to us,
or maybe it’s somewhere in between
where she has to reduce a request first to getting our attention,
then to an imperative noun or verb
which carries within it the potential
of the clause, the phrase, the modifiers,

in the last year she has learned of many choices that exist around her,
and how much she gets to choose,
and then again how much she doesn’t,
and language is the means to act upon those choices,

now when she is pleased with how close we are
to getting what she means,
she gives us an adorable “unh-hunh”,
and we melt,
for the relationship we build with each other
is vital to the best of who we are,
and her words smile with the bond.

by Henry Walker
April 5, ’10

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