Ever since Rachel was born we’ve narrated life for her. While it’s important to talk to babies, it’s almost impossible to know what to say to them—so we started narrating and she’s grown up hearing a running commentary on her life.
Now that she’s more able to communicate back to us and understands more about the world around her, the need to narrate is waning. She asks for clarification when she doesn’t understand something—trust me, she asks—all the time she asks. Who? What? Why? When? Where? Repeat.
Answering all those questions is more complicated and confusing than washing your hair, even.
Aside from asking questions, Rachel, herself, has begun narrating life, sandwiching her narration between questions, of course.
We had our 37 week appointment on Saturday and Rachel had the doctor and the nurses cracking up the whole time.
“Mommy’s lying on the table. Why is Mommy lying on the table? What’s Dr. Tarek doing? He’s measuring baby Miriam! He’s measuring her! What’s he doing? Oh! Now he’s poking her! He’s poking our baby! What’s that for? What’s that for!? Oh! He’s listening baby’s heart beep. Wow! That’s loud. Now Kleenex! He’s getting Kleenex! He’s wiping Mommy’s tummy. Is Mommy dirty? Why is he wiping Mommy’s tummy? Can I hear baby Miriam’s heart beep again? Do it again!”
Then out in the hallway, “What’s that lady doing? That lady’s a nurse. She helps people. Who does she help? She helps doctors and she helps Mommy.”
One of the nurses who is particularly fond of Rachel tried to get Rachel to have a conversation with her, but Rachel was on her guard—she doesn’t like strangers.
“How are you?” she asked Rachel.
“I’m going to be a big sister,” Rachel answered.
“Yaanii?” the nurse asked, having not understood what Rachel said.
“No,” said Rachel, “I’m Rachel. I’m going home. I’m going home at my home. I’m not going at nurse’s home. I’m not. I’m going at my home. Not yours.”
The poor nurse was so confused. But Rachel just kept on going.
“Good-bye, masalama! I’m opening the door. See? I’m pushing. Mommy’s pushing, too. It’s hard. I don’t want to sit in my stroller. I want to walk. Let’s go upstairs, not down. I don’t want to go home. Why are we going home? Where are we going? I don’t want to wear my seatbelt. I don’t want in my stroller. I can walk down the stairs fast. Strollers are fast. Can we go fast in the stroller? I don’t want to wear my seatbelt. Who is that man? Are we going outside now? Push me, Daddy! I don’t want a taxi. Put my roof on. We’re in Maadi. It’s too bright. I see a bird. He scared me when he flied off. What do birds say? What do birds do? What do birds eat? Do they eat me? No, they don’t eat me. They eat bugs and sometimes leaves. Leaves are a little bit yucky. Bugs are yucky, too. There’s water. It’s yucky, dirty water. Don’t go in there. Where is our house? Is our house in Maadi? We live in Maadi. There’s a dog. Dogs are a little bit scaresy. They like to eat me. And lick me. Buddy’s a dog. He likes me. He licks me but he doesn’t eat me. I don’t like dogs, but I like Buddy. Where’s Husun? What does he say to me? He kissed my wawa and we saw a bat. The bat was hurt. He needs a Band-Aid. I’m hungry. I want hot dogs for lunch. Are we eating lunch? At our home? Can we? I want to. I want to eat lunch. What did the doctor do to baby Miriam?”
On and on and on she goes. She never stops. It makes me wonder if we should have talked to her so much as an infant because, to tell you the truth, she sounds like how I’m sure I sounded when I was busy detailing every little moment of her life to her. Nattering, I think, is what it really was.
At least I won’t have to natter quite so much to baby Miriam because Rachel is plenty good at filling the empty air with words. Even when she can’t think of anything to say she still makes noise.
Miriam is doing just fine, in case you were wondering. I, on the other hand, am doing just huge.
While we were watching conference Rachel was snuggled up to me, patting my belly, when all of a sudden Miriam changed positions. She went from fetal-position to headstand-position…or something. My belly doubled out in front and got as pointy as a pyramid, quite unlike the ordinary ball-like shape it usually holds (albeit with limbs popping all around, sporadically mutating the roundness). Rachel was perplexed.
“Go down, baby Miriam!” she shouted at Miriam’s feet, pushing on my stomach, “Get back down! You’re too big! Go down! Go down! Go back down!”
And then she whispered to me, “Is baby Miriam coming out now?”
I will admit that I hope baby Miriam comes out soon; now seems a little too soon, though. I’d prefer to wait until a little later. And I hope she comes out the proper way (ie: not ripping through my abdomen with one of her super soccer kicks).