A Few Carterisms

It might be best to record these in audio, but since I’ve already missed many of them, I’ll write them down now. (Note: Please excuse the liberal use of exclamation marks. Carter often speaks in exclamations.)

One of his earliest mystery words was “Gweeth!” We ask him what he meant, but he doesn’t know.

A couple of days ago, he had been fussing and wailing off and on for an hour or two, and I finally asked him if he had some problem, or if he was just being troublesome. “Trouble,” he answered in his high-pitched but certain voice.

Here’s one that really needs to be captured on audio. I love the way he says “Oba dere.” I can’t write it quite right, because the “b” sound is somewhere between b and v, as in Mexican Spanish, and the “d” has a little bit of a hiss, so it’s a little like “th” as well. You’d think it would be easy to capture on videotape, because he says it a lot, with a little variation each time, since he’s always pointing something out to me, but you’d think wrong. “Hey Dad, it’s a plane, oba dere! Dad! Oba dere!” This is probably just one of the jets on its approach to SFO that go past our house about every other minute, but he’s spotted it, and he wants me to look. “Dad! Oba dere!”

Oh, it’s “Spumbunge Squarepants.” “SPUMbunge!” (Like a lot of other toddlers,) he often wants to eat a “hangaber,” (unlike other toddlers) at “Armadilly’s” or “Arma. . .dillo. . .willy’s.” I, the not-quite-vegetarian¬† who is grossed out by chicken, am amused that he happily asks for and digs in to a plate of ribs. Or maybe he doesn’t really want either a hangaber or ribs, he just wants to go to Toys-backwards-R-Us (which he now calls by name instead of just saying “toy store) next door.

His grammar is really improving. Steven Pinker informs me that we’ll have a “grammar explosion” in a month or two, and I’m looking forward to that. I’ve noticed him put together sentences that have a couple of pronouns and a prepositional phrase, e.g., “I take you to the blue car?” He’s got some sense of tense, although a lot of stuff any time in the past is “last night.” It’s been two weeks, but “My birthday was last night!” he proudly announces to anyone within earshot at Armadillo Willy’s.


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