Saturday, May 10, 2014


If you have kids, you may have heard of Pete Seeger's, Abiyoyo.  But until now, you probably haven't heard of AbiNoNo.  Zazie recently introduced us.

At 1 1/2, Zazie is turning out to be a pretty fun kid.  She loves to laugh.  My favorite is her sinister laugh, followed closely by the forced belly laugh that she conjures up when she really wants a chuckle, but there's nothing funny going on.  She imitates sounds, like dogs, car alarms, and the screams of her cohort one floor down.  She sings all the time.  We detected the first three notes of 'Lightly Row' early on in her career, at about 9 or 10 months.  She now has the first phrase down pat, along with the first few intervals of 'Happy Farmer', 'Twinkle, Twinkle' or 'Baa Baa', including the vowels aa--ee--eh--ee-ooool, and the beginning measures of the Seitz Concerto No. 5.  (I'm not kidding about the Seitz.)  She is definitely next in line for Suzuki lessons, as she can already bow with her heels together.

She has also started talking, adding daily to her vocabulary of almost-words.  She can say 'yeah' really well, a gratifying 'ooooh, WOW' when Mike puts food on the table, along with 'banana' and  'apPUUUUUllllll', her sweet, soprano voice hitting the high point on the second syllable and trailing off on the 'L', while pointing at anything even remotely juicy to eat.  Her diction is perfect on 'cocoa'.

Since she's been an exceptional communicator without actual words for so long, (she employs the hand sign for 'diaper change' quite readily, whether she's really soiled, or just wants to get out of a situation), she hasn't been so precocious when it comes to talking*, despite her knowledge of how to acquire chocolatey goodness.  But now, things are getting screechy so we're working extra hard to teach her the proper names for other desirable things, like 'cheese', 'broccoli', and 'Nourit'.

It's heartening to observe that, besides food,  Zazie's first words have mostly been names.  Hopefully that translates into a humanitarian spirit.  She started with 'Mama', moved quickly to 'Dada', then 'Nanny', 'Papa', and 'GO'.  ('GO' is actually the most fascinating person in her life thus far.  Formally known as 'Hugo', this little boy is exactly one year older than Zazie, and the best Godzilla impersonator around.  In fact, Zazie learned how to imitate Hugo imitating Godzilla so well that she didn't back down when a 10 year old boy tried to scare her on the playground a few weeks ago.  She merely growled and roared right back at him.)  She says 'Hi, Lilly' out the window every morning at breakfast, and can articulate 'Ming Ming' pretty well.  She says 'Anne' with a perfect German accent.   Her sisters' names, however, have been the last to roll off her tongue.

A week or so ago, though, she started to say Avi's name pretty intelligibly, but I wondered why she wasn't attempting Nourit's name.  After all, Nourit loves Zazie and lets her pretty much do anything around her, including sitting on her lap and stealing her pencils while she's avoiding her schoolwork.  She is gentle and kind to Zazie, and takes a genuine interest in her.  I  kinda figured Nourit's name would be the next on the vocab list.  All I would hear, however, is "ABI NO NO!", leading me to believe, (and I'm generally right about this), that Avi had done something less than altruistic to her baby sister.  From morning until night, it was either "AbIIIIIIIII!!!", or "Abi NO NO!!!" 

We continued to wonder how Zazie would first say Nourit's name when she attempted it.  Would it be 'Reet', like Nourit's first friends used to call her at age two?  We encouraged her with 'New New', but still we didn't hear any attempts at the eldest sister's name.  Maybe she was just being respectful.  But we finally figured it out one day at lunch.  See, she decided to name everyone present at the dinner table, just checking in, perhaps.  'Mama', 'Dada', 'Abi', 'No No', 'Ah Ee' (Zazie without the zede)...So that was it.  No negative suffix on Avi's name.  Nourit is 'No No'.  Avi is 'Abi'.  (And now we're going to officially change Nourit's name because I can't imagine Zazie calling her anything but 'No No' now.)

*Perhaps her vocabulary list would be more competitive if we took her pacifier away.  But the way this child screams (and enjoys listening to herself scream), we are keeping that plug handy.