Wednesday, September 26, 2007

But it not

One of the fascinating things about adopting a child who already has language is observing the switch from birth language to second language. TM was pretty functionally fluent in English by the time he was home four months. (I'm still not sure he is completely fluent, even at this point, anything that is a lot of just language...books without a lot of pictures for example...still seems to go over his head. But he is only 4 1/2.) Anyway, the process, while astounding, is not without some quirks. For TM at least, he will latch on to a certain phrase and use it over and over and over and over. And over and over until I am convinced that if I hear that phrase one more time my head will explode. It's not that he just goes around saying these phrases like a verbal tic, but more as a device to sort and categorize all the information coming at him. Then, once he has it out of his system, that certain phrase will disappear, never to be heard again.

His first repetitive phrase was, "But it not". This one lasted most of the winter, and while it was trying to hear him use it ad infinatum, it has become a family catch phrase. TM also spent a lot of time this winter comparing things, "That car is like our car....but it not." "That ____ is like ____ ... but it not." You get the idea. Then one day we realized we couldn't think when the last time we heard TM say, "But it not". I wasn't sad at the time, but I kind of miss it now.

"But it not" was replaced by "It a long, long day." As you can guess, this was useful as he spent the spring trying to figure out how long things lasted. I didn't find "It a long, long day" quite as endearing and was not sad to see it go.

Now, evidently, TM feels the need to conquer size and the phrase of the season is, "As big as the whole world." It is with great relief that I tell you that TM seems to be reducing his need for repetitive phrases and that the food on his plate is NOT "As big as the whole world."

I fear that I will look back on this phase and think how easy I had it. You see, TM, who along with his very inquisitive mind, also has a need to conquer his physical world through muscle and speed. He has amazing physical strength and agility and seems to be something of an adrenalin junkie. His dearest wish right now is to be able to ride faster than B (who's 12) on his bicycle, and if he could do that while riding with no hands life would be just about perfect. J and I sometimes torture ourselves by imagining what sort of high risk career TM will be drawn to. Fighter pilot, NASCAR driver, and X-Game participant are all things that have come to mind.

On the adoption front, still no word that K's dossier has been approved. I was really thinking last Friday was the day we would hear something....but it not.


Carissa said...

Oh how cute! I hope that while I am enduring something that I may find annoying at the time that I can try to look forward and see that it may be cute and missed when it is gone!

Christina said...

Zeeb does that same thing! His summer favorite that still pops up now and again was "Too long time!" We could be in the car 5 minutes and he'd say "too long time". It was funny, y'know, when it wasn't grating on my last nerve. ;-)

Nicki said...

Awww, those are great catch-phrases (that would drive me out of my mind after the first few days!!!!). I love that you can look back on them and laugh :-)

LawMommy said...

I wonder if "long day" translated into Vietnamese means "a long time" because Lana also uses "long, long day". She also says, "we do that lotta day" - to mean something that we do nearly everyday, and "do not do that lotta days" to means something we haven't done much of recently.

You are right that watching them acquire English is fascinating.


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