Do me a favor and say “por favor”

Joseph is a very polite boy. From a small age he has always said “thank you” and “you’re welcome” (in two languages).

But he also he can be very stubborn. For a long time, Joseph has said “por favor” only using sign language. He simply would not speak “please.”

This morning we had a little showdown. He wanted a second helping of cereal. I wanted him to speak “please” or “por favor” aloud. At first he would only give me signs, over and over. I kept repeating to him that I wanted him to speak the words. Then he started saying “I can’t!” (a phrase he learned from his sisters)

After a while I went back to my newspaper as he sat there sucking his two fingers. Yoli was talking to me, then she said “Did you hear that?”

And there was Joseph saying “por favor.”

Amid exclamations of “good job” and “bravo,” Joseph got his second helping of cereal.


Joseph is learning to say new words daily. He can say complete words like Mamá, Papá, apple, pie, come, luna (moon), and “no hay” (there’s no more). He also has his own language. Here are a few examples:

“Ia” = Jadzia
“Lulu” = Ludi
“Ali” = Josie
“Galle” (ga-yeh) = cookie
“Awa” = agua
“Io” = “E-I-E-I-O” = his speak-and-say toy
“Gunta” = “mantita” = blanket
“Nomé” = “don’t do that to me!”

Josie’s speaking ability

Josie’s speech is growing by leaps and bounds every day. She does a lot of babbling, peppered with real English and Spanish words.

In the last few weeks we have heard her begin to sing a little bit of “A B C,” for example. She begins the song but cuts it off quickly and gives a little smile.

Today while changing her diaper, I was singing the chorus of “Angels We Have Heard on High.” To my surprise, Josie began to sing it after I finished. It wasn’t exact by any means, but I could definitely make it out.

She seems to learn a new word each day. One that she has been using a lot lately is “paper.” She has begun coloring for her own amusement without help.

Here are a few of her more baby-esque words. I want to record these before I forget them — and before she stops saying them.

  • goon-goon: poop
  • ja-ja: Mister Rogers
  • jag-oo: jacket
  • ta: short for mantita, which is Spanish for “blanket”
  • jad-zee: Jadzia
  • loo-ee: Ludi
  • day-day: this is her way of saying bebé, by which she usually means Joseph


Today I was with Jadzia and Ludi at the school, playing on the playground. As things were winding down, I was talking with Jadzia about airplanes, reminding her about our upcoming trip.

“We’re going to take TWO airplanes. We’ll take one from St. Louis to Miami. Then we’ll stay in Miami a few hours. Then we’ll take another plane from Miami to BOLIVIA!”

Without missing a beat, Jadzia replied, “No, we’re not going to YOUR ‘ammy.’ We’re going to MY ‘ammy!’ “

Ludi speaks — and the world listens

Last week Ludi said her first word. It was “Pa.”

But if I hadn’t been there to hear it myself, I don’t know if that’s how it would have gone down in the record books. 🙂

See, not long after she said “Pa,” she started saying “pa” and “ma” and “mama” all together. Yoli and I were both there are she made these babbling noises. Truth be told, she probably said “ma” a lot more. But the very first word was “Pa.”

I am very pleased.

The echo whisperer

In recent months, Jadzia has been greatly expanding her speech capacity in English and Spanish.

She does something now which seems unusual (though maybe other folks out there have experienced this, too). She whisper-echoes Yoli and I when we talk.

For example, if I’m reading a page in a book, after I finish the sentence or paragraph, Jadzia will quietly repeat the last word I said (or an interesting word she heard). She does this all the time, whether we are reading or whether I’m giving her a little speech about something.

It’s kinda cool. It’s as if you can see her brain expanding. 🙂