As I type, a queen wasp is circling inside the light shade. White washing dangles damp from the clotheshorses: it has been fetched in from flails of chill wind and waning flares of sun. Indoors, it has been warm enough to wake a high-ranking wasp.
The fire is not even lit, because the flue is choked with wood ash.
We resorted to electric heat to keep Little Granddaughter cozied up this morning.

She runs around the living room, condensing meaning into strings of single words. Doggle: meaning this in some way relates to Dog. Mow: meaning this in some way relates to Cat. Nam-ma: meaning Granma there is a job for you to do here. Down: abandon the coffee cup, there is important other stuff to do. Yeh-plea: what children have to say to be obeyed.

I hand her toast in a plastic bowl. She looks at me, says phonetically:
'Szis breakfast?'
A satisfied nod: the expected answer.

There was no dialogue to be had with the wasp.

Nam-ma! Meaning: my hands are cold, sort it out! 


  1. She's adorable. Isn't it fun learning grandchild-speak?

  2. 'I hand her toast in a plastic bowl. She looks at me, says phonetically:
    'Szis breakfast?'
    A satisfied nod: the expected answer.'

    My heart is full, Lily.

    My daughter sat on my lap as I read this and, referring to the beautiful first image of your granddaughter, commented that she looks like one of her cousins, 'in the hair, but not so much the space between the eyes.'


  3. Lily, I love this nascent lexicon of toddler terms. My wife, Norma, is called "Gamma Namma" by our grandchildren --which sounds like a title from a '50s Toho Studios monster film. I am called various things which, so far as I can tell, all mean "that which must be climbed". Have fun with this delightful time!

  4. Children are brilliant. The real secret of my success is that a large part of my brain seems to be about 5 years of age. When the Littles talk like this, it makes total sense; their language is so inventively pragmatic. They see things like the difference of eye spacing even though hair is similar, understand things like how Grandads function as climbing frames. Total joy!


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