Saturday, October 13, 2007

How to succeed in life with a 5-word vocabulary

The Tesserae family of educational services is pleased to announce an exciting new workshop. This special one-time offering entitled "How to succeed in life with a 5-word vocabulary" will be taught by the eminently qualified Baby Nora herself. With 17 months of experience and a captivating personality, Nora will teach you the best-kept secrets of the toddler trade. Her cutting-edge (and cutting-tooth) approach centers on the all-important question: why waste time with a ponderous, time-consuming vocabulary when you can count on one hand the words you truly need to influence people and get the things you want out of life (which may or may not include bottles of soy milk, time in the sandbox, or an immediate rescue from atop the kitchen table where you have once again managed to strand yourself).

Learn from Nora the fine art of verbal economy in this five-part workshop.

Session One: hi
Master the art of the simple salutation. "Hi" is always a crowd pleaser and a big hit with strangers in the grocery store, where it may be combined with a wave of the hand or batting of the eyes for an effect that will be sure to leave your fans begging for more. It is especially potent when directed in the early morning hours at those who would otherwise be very annoyed with you for waking them up with your demands for comfort and attention. A well-placed "hi" will soften the heart of even the most grouchy parent.

Session Two: da-da
When you're up for the challenge, we'll move on to this two-syllable tool for the manipulation of the paternal figure. It goes without saying that when you learn to use "da-da" correctly, you'll have your father wrapped securely around your pudgy little finger. This may lead to hard feelings on the part of the maternal figure, who can't figure out why all of her children say da-da long before they learn her name despite the fact that she carried each of them inside her body for several months, nursed them from her own bosom and wore them like an over-sized purse across one hip for the first year of their lives. For this reason, we will be sure to move to the next session as soon as possible.

Session Three: nam (pronounced "nahm" as in "Viet…")
Nora's special variation on the traditional ma/ma-ma/mommy fare is sure to be the next big thing. Again, the name of the game is simplify, simplify. Save yourself the trouble of too many syllables. "Nam" will get the point across just fine, especially since your mother, desperate for recognition, will be so delighted you have finally figured out who she is that she will probably accept anything remotely involving the "m" sound at this stage. Nam plops easily off the roof of your mouth and can double as either a joyous utterance at times of reunion or a plaintive shout when you feel your needs are being neglected. Should dire circumstances (such as boredom or need for a bottom-wiping) arise, it can be repeated over and over with accelerating speeds and an incline in pitch and intensity until it becomes a whine. All this will be forgiven. Nams are like that.

Session Four: Oof
For training purposes, you will spend the weekend at the family cabin with seven large, friendly dogs. By day three, we guarantee you will have developed a strong affection for the species and the adorable tendency to bark "oof" whenever you see one. This sound is incredibly useful as it can be applied indiscriminately to all things furry or four-legged, including horses, cows, cats, pandas in books, and 80% of the characters on Sesame Street. You may even find the opportunity to use it some evening when your Nam is singing you a song with the line “Children, children, God is near you.” It may take her a moment to understand why you are barking, but she’ll laugh heartily when she figures it out.

Session Five: oh!™
This multi-purpose word will fill in all the gaps from here on out. You will never tire of discovering amusing new ways to sneak "oh!" into every conversation. Here are a few of Nora's favorites, but this is by no means a comprehensive list.

oh! (the phone is ringing / I hear the doorbell)
oh! (I threw my shoe into the heat vent again)
oh! (I am sad because I was headed for the slightly open patio door and Gabie closed it just in the nick of time and now I’m stuck in the boring kitchen while he is out playing in paradise)
oh! (That wall popped up where I least expected it)
oh! (Thanks, I love Ramen Noodles)
oh! (I want that thing right there…no, not that one, the one with the sharp, pointy edges)

And a few variations on the theme:

oh, oh, oh (I know you're working on that bottle thing, but speed it up lady)
oh? (I don’t know where Da-da is. Do you?)
oh! (That is the coolest ______ I have ever seen!!!)

These five words will take you anywhere you want to go (provided you want to go to a place like Nora’s house where everyone loves her dearly and speaks her language).

Space is limited so reserve your spot today.


An Ordinary Mom said...

At this age my little man was an expert in the caveman grunt! Forget the finger pointing, just grunt and assume everyone knows exactly what you want. If they don't get it, turn on the whine.

My Ice Cream Diary said...

The efficient vocab, I like it. And who knew there were so many meanings to the word, "oh?"

Baby Nora sure is a cutie. With eyes like that I'm sure she has everyone wrapped around her little finger.

mindyluwho said...

Cute post, I LOVE toddler vocabulary! This almost makes me want to have another one...almost! My youngest is six and has a lisp and still can't say his R's right, but he's fast growing up. Guess I'll just have to wait for grandmotherhood.

Katrina said...

Love this post! My 16-month-old son has one word: Meow. Other than that, he says "Eh" with a variety of inflections, and points, screams, or nods to get his message across.

Jen said...

How cute...and she's beautiful.

Josi said...

that is hilarious! so funny, and so true. They can rule the whole world with five little words. Fun stuff

anabidia said...

Very witty post! Isn't it amazing how we as parents can totally understand the "speech" of our kids? Even when anyone else can't!

Geo said...

What a delightful post! I'm so glad I stopped by today!

And I feel dumb, but I haven't yet figured out the barking/hymn connection yet.

Geo said...

Yet yet yet.

Kimberly said...

Looks like you have the beginnings of a book here! =)

Luisa Perkins said...

HI-larious! She's getting so big, too.

Radioactive Jam said...

If she were to limit herself to this vocabulary as an adult, people would be in awe of her. She'd seem wise beyond her years.

Sort of like Peter Sellers in "Being There." Possibly.

jouette said...

stumbled upon your blog today. adorable post, it made me smile ♥

Ann Kroeker said...


Hi, Nam.

(Just practicing. Maybe I'd have to try "Ju" for you.)

Hi, Ju!

Oh? (as in "How are you these days? Okay? Everybody's fairly healthy? Did you miss me?)

Please ask Baby Nora how I'm doing.

I'm always in awe of how you (Ju, not Nora) surprise us with an unexpected noun that I have to look up, or a perfect verb.

It leaves me feeling a bit more like Nora. I don't have the vast vocabulary or knowledge that you command, but I do try to make the most of what I've managed to amass over the years.

Ann Kroeker said...

("amass", hey, whaddaya think of that?)

The Lazy Organizer said...

That face is just too adorable!

Sheela said...

catching up after a long hiatus, gawd, Nora is so adorable...
and this post made me feel better about my little girl staunchly refusing to acknowledge me till she turned almost one when she figured she might as well go with the one that is around more fawning and gushing like an idiot and hanging on her every word!