The first of the two words isn't so bad at first glance. "Ba." Seems pretty harmless, the kind of thing you'd expect a baby to say. Except that Westley's volume goes from zero to eleven as he suddenly starts pointing and saying, "Ba! Ba! Ba!" almost breathless, as if we were in some sort of crisis situation and "ba" were the only way to save us.
I stop, whip my head around, and start searching, trying to get him to tell me more with my questions.
"Ball? Where's the ball, honey?" as I look for a ball, or a balloon, or anything remotely round. "Bottle? I don't see it."
"That box? No. Oh! A bird! Yes, there are birds over there. Do you see all those birds?"
And usually, it's one of those things: a ball, a balloon, a bird. Sometimes it's a banana, or bottle or a box, and if we're at home, "ba" is probably the broom, or the vacuum. It's also the sound a sheep makes (duh), and the sound you yourself make when it's cold outside. Or maybe he's just always talking about the Egyptian soul. I can't really rule that one out. When Westley was a tiny baby, his cry sounded like he was saying "Allah." Maybe this is indicative of an interest in world religions. I don't know.
So "ba" is actually pretty harmless, even if it does go on all day. However, the word that gets me--makes me completely break down into a state of irrational fear and hatred--is "na." Jessica blogged about this a while ago, and I am so there. That fucking voiced nasal makes me want to rip out my hair and die. I just hate the sound of it, but the specific issue is that is doesn't mean anything. It means everything.
She'll never understand a word I say. Exxxxcellent!
When Westley started saying it, usually two "na"s at a time, my mom thought he was saying my name. "He's calling you 'Noelle!'" she said, clearly and delightedly having flashbacks to my brother, whose first word was his big sister's name: "NaNa." I was skeptical of this, because almost no one at home calls me by my name, but also because Westley had been saying "mama" for a while.
However, it turns out that "na na" and "mama" are interchangeable, although "mama" is more like, "I see my mama," while "na na" is "you bring me that thing right now, Mama!" It's also his one-word go-to demand for nursing, being picked up, having a door opened, tasting something off your plate, and so on. There is no handy alliterative list to comb through when Westley is pointing and "na!"-ing. He could be saying, "I want to go outside and play" or "The cats are eating their breakfasts," and there's no real way to know which one it is.
Westley's limited vocabulary is incredibly tiring to listen to all day, every day. And sadly, he shows no sign of the "language explosion" that his nurse practitioner, my mother, and other baby-ologists tell me is coming any day now.
I know this is another one of those things that's going to be gone before I know it, but the bas and nas are wearing me down, and part of me thinks Westley will never say anything else. He'll write Stein-esque poetry: na is na is na.
Rob's conclusion? "He's going to grow up to be a do wop singer."