Posted by: Liza Rosenberg | February 20, 2006

Cabalay

I’ve been asked to get a bit more personal and write about my son. Well, I’m nothing if not accommodating (or at least try to be when possible), so here it goes! Our child is now nearly 20 months old (annoying isn’t it, how parents count the age of their children in months?), and needless to say he is the light of our lives, the apple of our eye, and pretty much any other drippy sweet platitude you can think of. It was a long, complicated, emotional journey to bring him into our lives, and we are doing our best to enjoy every moment (though some moments are admittedly more trying than others!).

The Little One is highly entertaining, as I would expect any child of mine to be, and he clearly has a sense of humor, laughing big belly laughs at anything he deems to be funny. He is, unfortunately, already enchanted by the “wonders” of television, and is particularly taken with a number of shows, especially “Brum” (causing him to smile delightedly and call out “Brum! Brum!” whenever it’s on), “Thomas the Tank Engine” (his grandparents just sent him a Thomas video and miniature train engine, and he runs around the house saying “Tómas? Tómas?”), “Balamory” (“Mory?”), and essentially anything else starring a tractor, truck or train. Oh, and by the way, with regard to the television, he’s also taught us that it can be turned on by pressing the “Program” buttons on the set itself, as well as things we never knew about our stereo system…

Husband and I are speaking to the Little One only in English, as it’s important to both of us that he be as comfortable in English as he will be in Hebrew. His daycare center is also bilingual, so he’s getting additional English-language reinforcement there as well. The result so far is that most of his words are in English, with a smattering of Hebrew. Of course, in our attempts to improve the Little One’s vocabulary (and maximize his entertainment value), we have successfully managed to teach him a number of words and phrases that will undoubtedly help him in the future. When asked a question, the response will often be a confident “Oh yeah.” If the question involves cake, cookies, etc., the response becomes an emphatic” OHHHHHHH YEAH!!!” Upon waking from a nap in daycare one afternoon, the woman in charge told him that she’d call his father to come pick him up (we live close enough so that if he’s asleep when it’s time to go, Husband leaves, returning once he gets the call that he’s woken up). His response? “Oh, nice!” When planes fly overhead, he will point up at the sky and say, “the plane! The plane!” in a manner not unlike Tattoo from “Fantasy Island”.

Speaking of speaking, he’s also quite the little parrot, often picking up on certain words while we speak and trying to repeat them. Some of the more amusing examples would have to be “whayaname?” (“what’s your name?”) and “nipple” (don’t ask, because I won’t tell you). Other unusual words in his vocabulary include “cacti” (we have a large collection – it was one of his first words), “insect” (thank you, Baby Einstein!), “sushi” (courtesy of “First Book of Sushi” by Amy Wilson Sanger), and “manatee”. Husband, much to my dismay, has taught him to say “cusit” (or “babe”, in its less derogatory translation). He seems to have a problem connecting between “the cute things we teach him now” and “the cute things we once taught him that will certainly come back to bite us in the ass”, and “cusit” is certainly one of those things (another is described below). One afternoon, when Husband and Little One picked me up at the train station, Little One looked at me, gave a big, beautiful smile, and said “cusit!” Charming, no? Words fail me…

Husband thoughtfully (thoughtlessly?) taught him how to open the refrigerator, because he thought it would be cute when the Little One helps him make coffee by getting the milk. And you know what, it is cute. What could not be cute about a kid who, when you tell him you’re making coffee, looks up at you with wide eyes, says “coppee?”, and runs to the refrigerator to get the milk, shaking it before he gives it to you? Of course, what is less cute is that he seems to believe that the refrigerator is a special play area, from which it is possible to remove all sorts of items for his own personal use – wine bottles (had a harrowing experience once, where he grabbed a bottle of red wine and ran into the living room with it. I proceeded oh so cautiously, given the potential damage, and successfully retrieved said bottle), eggs, syrup, juice cartons, etc. And, if he’s not removing stuff, he’s casually sitting on the bottom shelf, feet on the floor, trying to pull the door closed (don’t worry, he can’t).

Sitting in the refrigerator, you ask? Well, it seems the Little One has a penchant for hiding. When he suddenly runs from the living room (usually yelling “running! running! running” as he runs), I race around the house quietly, listening for rustling sounds. He’s not afraid of the dark, and will often be found standing quietly in his dark room, grinning when he sees me, or hiding in a corner of our home office, kneeling quietly, either wedged between a cabinet and a bookcase or squeezed behind the vacuum cleaner. He thinks it’s hilarious (see belly laugh paragraph above), and I must admit, it certainly makes me smile.

Little One also loves to dance (though sadly, he seems to have inherited his mother’s unfortunate sense of rhythm), bouncing his little body up and down whenever a catchy tune is playing. His latest creative foray is in singing. What began with him imitating his mommy imitating Louis Armstrong (think small child running around his room saying “Cabalay, cabalay” in a fake gravelly voice, because he can’t actually say “Cabaret” yet), has recently turned into mealtime songfests, where, while sitting at the table, he suddenly takes my hand and Husband’s hand and, with the three of us holding hands, starts singing “la la la. La la la.” We have no idea where it came from, but given how the entertainment factor is a main feature of our relationship, we encourage it.

So, as you can see, we’ve been having quite a lot of fun with our little chap. We take him hiking so that he will develop a love for nature and the outdoors. We’ve taught him to love animals (especially dogs), though sometimes, he tries to love them with a bit too much gusto. We show him pictures of family and friends abroad so that they will be familiar to him when he sees them (thanks to this method, he recognized his grandparents at the airport straight away when they came to visit in October). Most important of all, we let him know how much we love him and how much he means to us, through lots of hugs, kisses, and attention. I look at him sometimes, and can’t believe he’s ours, can’t believe we managed to create such a beautiful, intelligent, loving little child after so much anguish. If he learns nothing else, he will know that his Mommy and Abba love and treasure him more than life itself, and that he will never be taken for granted.

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Responses

  1. A wonderful piece. Just thought you’d like to know about the typo, which I have corrected here:

    “We’ve taught him to love animals (especially cats)”

    Prrrrr. ;-D
    > – – <
    >-<

  2. He likes cats too, but has much greater exposure to dogs (we have one, his uncle has one, his aunt has one, many of the neighbors, etc.). Besides, I am a total dog person, so I suppose that is the message I’m passing on to him.

    When he was smaller, whenever he saw a cat, he didn’t say “meow”, he said “eyam”, which sounds like “meow” backwards. It was very cute! I’d ask him what a cat says just to hear him say it!
    Meow.

  3. If you’re teaching him to be a dog person, he will be a perfect match for my granddaughter! In fact, I will have to visit you with my dog. Prepare!

  4. If your dog is male, we may have to come visit you. Our dog is male, and lives under the assumption that no other male dog has the right to live. 🙂

  5. My dog is a rather small female, 12 years old, and about 12 pounds. She is not exactly a dog-loving dog herself, but is definitely more comfortable with most male dogs than with most female dogs. She’s quite territorial, and not polite to visiting dogs, even small male puppies. Maybe I’ll leave her home.

  6. Thank you kindly for complying to my wish ,you have not only brought the sweetness of a healthy lovely child ,but you have given me in particular I the one from the other side ,the human aspect of your existence as a person not simply a blog er .May the Gods that wins our favors bless you all in particular the little one Ma_Shallah he seems to take after his mother in running around and verbalising his domain ,again may your God and my God answer us with the bounty of accepting to give my little ones and your little one better chance to grow fertile in their love for each other and same for others like them.
    Not much to ask for , only our legitimate rights from those who believe and worship their Gods to grant us eagerly the wanted peace , by doing so they will enjoy it themselves when they see their little ones as happy as ours .
    I wanted to give you as much as I desire for my self ,and wish for those who are separated by Feud to rest and break bread to end hate.
    I wish I can give You and the Little ones more .
    Levant

  7. Boy, I can’t wait to meet that little boy!! Need to hear the Louis Armstrong voice! Our little ones are at very similar stages right now. Although I must admit I was a wee bit shocked when my 21 month old counted to five yesterday… in norwegian, of course.

  8. Sweet. My youngest is 23 months (finally get to say 2 years) and also loves the fridge. He stands inside holding the door closed (not all the way)

  9. Aren’t they fun!?! Those fun sweet moments that make you smile are the ones to hold onto! Keep sharing them with us too! 🙂

  10. He sounds absolutely precious! Oy the maternal instincts really start screaming when you read a post like this–I WANT ONE OF THOSE!!

  11. Well, Yael. There are definitely times when I’d be perfectly happy to give him to you! ;-p

  12. Do you really get Balamory in Israel?! I’m not sure if I’m proud or ashamed that it is subjected upon an international audience!

  13. Beth: Indeed we do, on BBC Prime. It’s one of my son’s favorites, and whenever I go online and he’s around, he asks me (in his 2 year-old language) to go to the Balamory website so that we can listen to and sing along with the different songs. It’s rather sweet, actually, and I enjoy watching it with him (as opposed to the Teletubbies, which make me want to throw the TV out the window…).

  14. […] Cabalay […]


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