At about 10 weeks, Barnaby started changing his daily routine very slightly.
Now, when he wakes up in the morning (sometime between 5.30am and 6am), he will happily lie in his cot and gurgle quietly to himself, for half an hour or so. This is odd because it has been hours since his last feed, at midnight, and normally we would expect him to be screaming his head off, demanding food.
But he doesn't. He wakes, and gurgles for a bit. After a while, he starts calling us to come and get him.
These noises are quite unlike any others he makes. They are not the insistent screams of his normal food requests, nor are they cries of distress or discomfort. They seem to be deliberate attempts to attract our attention, and bring us into his room.
"Laaa!" he will cry. "G'na!" The noises are quite high-pitched, but not panicked or upset. They're definitely calls. "Wiii! Baaa!"
It's as though he going: "Mummy! Daddy! I'm awake! Come and play with me! And some breakfast would be nice."
No matter how early in the morning we hear these sounds, it's a wonderful and delightful way to wake up. Barnaby is our alarm clock. These clear, but gentle, cries are a pleasure to hear and sometimes Kate and I will lie in bed for a short while, listening to Barnaby's voice.
That's the crucial difference with these sounds. They are Barney's voice, not the instinctive wails of a newborn. What's more fascinating is that he appears to have learned that we respond to this kind of call better than we do to a frantic yell. Ten weeks old, and he is already discovering how to bend us round his tiny little finger.
Now Barney is 16 months old, and his early morning routine is only slightly different. He still wakes early, any time between 6 and 7am, but now he's started to speak and the cries have been replaced with words.
"Doggie," he was saying this morning, over and over. "Doggie. Doggie. Doggie." He had his toy fluffy dog in his cot with him, and must have been playing with it.
After a few minutes the word changed.
"Dada," he called, quietly at first.
"Dahhhh-da. Dadda. DA-DAHHH!!"
You can't get much clearer than that.
(17th December 2003)