Speakers of the House
When Lola and Locke were younger, I secretly longed for the day when they could talk. I'd imagine their little voices as they pointed to birds flying by and shouting, "bird!" I chuckled at the inappropriate things toddlers would blurt out in grocery stores as their mothers turned bright red and tried to shush them to no avail.
Now, the words are beginning to flow in our house and it's every bit as adorable as I'd imagined. Locke and Lola are surprisingly developing language skills in a very similar way and at a very similar speed. They have a vocabulary that's about 20 words strong and quite a reperatoire of animal sounds. They can even do a mean fish, thanks to Mimi.
Their words now include, "ham, hummus (although both ham and hummus sound like "humma"), Mimi, purple, blue, donkey (although it sounds very similar to "daddy"), pig, apple, Molly (a playgroup friend), Amy (their babysitter), hat, and bus. They can sound like a tiger, lion (yes, same as a tiger), cow, horse, sheep, dog, cat, monkey, duck, and goat.
I always thought one would lead the way in speech, just like they traded off leading in their physical developmental skills like crawling, walking, and jousting. But they're both learning many words at the same time -- together. And, at the same time, they're developing their own language. They used to say something like, "tucka tucka tucka." But now, it's more like, "boota boota boota." They'll talk to each other, "Boota boota boota," and point at different things in the room and then toward the window, seemingly carrying on a serious conversation about architecture and airplanes. Then one will turn to me and say, "ball," in an attempt to include me in the conversation and to downplay their secret twin language.
Lola does seem to be more aggressive in her language training. She babbles almost nonstop, whether it's in the exclusive twin language or her newly developing English language. She seems to be doing a running commentary on the household goings-on in a sweet, melodic way. I've seen trailors for the movie "Stranger Than Fiction," with Will Farrell, where a woman's voice narrates every event in his daily life. I have a feeling if Lola could speak English a little better, it would sound something like that. "Oh, I'm flipping the pages in this book and now I'm climbing up on the table and I'm going to take Lockie's cup and run to the kitchen and put it in a drawer and here comes Lockie he's so funny tee hee tee hee there's Mommy hello Mommy and there's a duck I think I'll put it in this box and push it across the room..." (Add any sweet, lilting melody and high-pitched voice.)
The best thing about their learning new words is not that they're developing the foundation of their lifelong communication skills. It's how darn cute each word can sound, coming out of their mouths. I never knew the word "purple" could be so incredibly cute. When Lola purses her lips and pronounces, in her soft, high-pitched voice, "poo-pull," it's the most adorable thing I've ever heard. I've got it on video now so I can always remember that beautiful sound. Because after they learn to say "no," I think I'll need that.