Saturday, April 14, 2007

The challenge of language

I was making a sandwich for Luc’s lunch the other day and asked him if he would like some prosciutto on it. His first reaction was “No” but as he has loved eating this in the past I said “I know you like prosciutto. It is a special type of ham” He agreed to let it grace his sandwich. As we sat down to eat our lunch, Luc who had obviously been pondering things asked “So, prosciutto is a special type of ham… like diarrhoea is a special type of poo?” “Ahhhhh, I guess so…” was all I could muster. I must say I was a little dumbfounded by this one. Paul had obviously explained things in this manner when a bout of diarrhoea caught Luc off guard the week before. 

Luc adores watching movies and has been watching one practically every day (while the weather has been too bad to get out). I have a deal with Luc. He has to eat his lunch and have a nap before we even consider a movie. This has made the battle for naps far easier. Luc has several favourite movies and watching these over-and-over has given him an appreciation of plot and character development. He has now started telling us convoluted stories – often adopting the semblance of a movie plot. We were sitting in the bagel shop yesterday and Luc started telling me a story. To be honest, I wasn’t paying the greatest attention until I heard “…and then they drove up to the shop and they brought in some nuts and gave them to you. But you didn’t want nuts!” This was obviously inspired by the phrase I often employ “You boys are driving me nuts!” 

Nic speaks constantly. He speaks his own language. We call it Nicolese. The language obviously has some structure and consistent words so it means something to Nic. He is always asking us questions (with outstretched arms, palms up) or telling us important snippets of information, pointing and gesturing. (See the movie of Nic on the phone). In amongst all his gabble, we swear that he says complete sentences (in English). Pulling me close for an impromptu hug while he was lying on the changing table, I could swear he said “I love you”. He often says something resembling “Where is it?”, “That’s Nic” (when looking at photos of himself), and “I want down”. This is unusual as children his age generally speak in single nouns or verbs – what is more unusual is that he is so inconsistent and only uses these phrases from time to time – interspersed amongst his gabble – so we often wonder if we have heard correctly. 

When we are out, Nicolas waves hello and goodbye to people, smiles at them, and does ‘cute’ things or speaks Nicolese to gain peoples attention. He is a born flirt and comedian. He has loads of personality and we are sometimes astounded and generally amused at the funny things he does. He has no need to speak English! Our friend Ann has admitted that she has a crush on Nic and swears that he could burn her house down and she wouldn’t get mad at him. 

Photo: the boys regarding their stash of eggs - post Easter egg hunt.