From little baby to little boy

It all seems to happen so fast. Just a few weeks ago, Barney was still a baby to me. But things are changing so fast – he’s learning so much, so quickly – that he is now very much a little boy, and one with his own distinctive character at that.

Take speech, for example. He will tend to repeat back to us the last word of any sentence we’ve said.

So conversations might go like this:

“Barney, it’s time to go out.”


“Shall we change your nappy?”


“Would you like some yoghurt before we go?”


He also knows dozens of other words, and even more astonishing (to me, at any rate) is that he is starting to string them together into meaningful sentences.

For example, he knows that “All gone” is what he should say when he’s finished a meal. He points to his empty plate or cup and declares: “All gone.”

But he’s applied that knowledge to other things. Recently we walked past a neighbour’s garden, where a dog usually greets us from the garden with a friendly woof. As we approached, Barney knew what to expect and was saying “Goggie” over and over. But it soon became clear that the doggie wasn’t at home, and there was not going to be any woofy welcome.

Barney understood, and made his conclusion clear: “Goggie all gone.”

His vocabulary expands at a frightening speed. He knows all sorts of animals: doggie, cat, mouse, spider (“bi-daah“), cow, sheep (“beek!“). Non-animals: precious, hoover, plane, car, CD, phone, high-chair, biscuit, and – his favourite thing in the whole world – CAKE!

Today he was playing with a numbers jigsaw he was given as a Christmas present. Under each digit (from 0 to 9) there is the matching number of little animals. Under the zero, there is nothing. Barney pulled out the zero, and dangled it over his head. He jabbed his finger at the empty space. “All gone,” he decided.

Filed under: life
(6th January 2004)