wings and things


on November 26, 2012

When Ming was little he always talked to himself. Even before he said his first words, he would chatter away in that strange preverbal language that he’d punctuate constantly with sudden exclamations or wild giggles. I used to love listening to this so-called nonsense, knowing that even though it didn’t translate easily, it made enormous sense to Ming. He would play for hours with his blocks and his duplo and the house would be permeated with the highs and lows of his quiet little voice with its exaggerated intonations. It seemed never to cease – a beautiful sound, like a water fountain or soft music in the background.

I think even Ming found his own voice soothing because often, when there was a lull in the Ming monologue, Anthony or I would go and check only to find that he had either talked himself to sleep or else had put his dummy into his mouth for a bit of peace and quiet!

At the age of two, Ming still didn’t have the 50 words he was supposed to have (or so I was informed by two of the more experienced playgroup mothers), but he was pretty close. He treated each new word as something exciting and precious, rolling it around on his tongue like a lolly, or else jumping up on my knee and shouting it into my ear to give me a fright. Initially, he seemed to want to keep each new word as a separate kind of plaything, rather than joining his vocabulary together.

Eventually, though, Ming began to jigsaw his words into phrases and mini-sentences and it was around about this time that he began to talk to his stuffed toys in the same constant way he’d talked to himself for so long.

One night after I’d tucked him in with his Snoopy toy and put the light off, I heard the murmur of his little voice and, always curious, I crept up the hallway to his doorway with my ears pricked.

The hall light was shining into his bedroom and I heard Ming say, “Is it awight, your mouf like that, Snoopy?” After a short pause, he rephrased the question. “Snoopy, is your mouf comfy like that?” After another short pause, Ming’s tone became impatient and I heard the echo of my words in Ming’s reprimand: “Snoopy, doan ignooooooooooowa me!”

I ventured in and sat on Ming’s bed. He was trying to poke Snoopy’s red tongue back into his mouth but the tongue was fixed – sewed into the furry material at an angle.

“Oh, Mummy!” Ming exclaimed when he saw me, “Snoopy can’t unnastann me!” His little brow furrowed and he was gripping Snoopy’s tongue in frustration.

Then, just as I was about to break it to Ming that Snoopy was never going to be able to communicate with him, Ming’s eyes lit up as the truth suddenly hit him. Looking up at me from his pillow, as if I were an extremely silly person, he said, with solemn wisdom, “Oh, Mummy, you muss ‘member, Snoopy is oany a toy!”

“Oh, yes,” I said, feigning surprise and getting up to go before Ming spotted my barely disguised grin in the dim light. “Good night, Ming – I love you,” I said as I left his room.

“’Night, Mummy, I wuv you,” he called up the hallway, then, in such a quiet whisper that I nearly didn’t catch it, he breathed, “’Night, Snoopy, I wuv you too.”

38 responses to “Snoopy

  1. bulldogsturf says:

    What a great memory to have….

  2. FlaHam says:

    Julie, what a wonderful story, I know I must have one similar between Allison and I. I am going to have to go to the way back machine and see if I can dig it out. Thank you for sharing such a touching and personal moment. — Bill

  3. Gardengirl says:

    What?! Snoopy’s not real?! I’m devastated! 😉

  4. Awww what a cute story!

  5. victoriaaphotography says:

    How adorable. What a lovely story.
    Glad you share it with us.

    Ming is totally unique in this world. I suppose you’re going to tell us that 18 yr old Ming has lost this unique charm and quaint way of talking to himself.

  6. Louise G. says:

    What a touching story of a lovely moment in time to be cherished and celebrated — just as you celebrate Ming today. how lovely!

  7. dcwisdom says:

    You, my friend, amaze me with your detailed recall of these conversations with little Ming. I wish I had your memory or at least had written down the words my children said when they were young. I’m glad you are writing your stories so that your future, beautiful grandchildren can read these jewels.

  8. Robyn Lee says:

    Loved this dearest Julie ~ & he’s still a little doll, your Ming ~ I can tell! xo

  9. terry1954 says:

    I just love your stories from when Ming was small!!!

  10. tersiaburger says:

    I always have a smile on my face when I read your Ming posts! Thank you for sharing.

  11. I love these stories of little Ming. Does he know you’re telling these secrets to us?

  12. diannegray says:

    What a fantastic story, Julie – beautiful! 😀

  13. Judith Post says:

    Our second daughter didn’t talk for a long time, and we began to worry until a friend watched her and said, “She doesn’t need to talk. She points and grunts, and her sister does whatever she wants.” So we told Holly not to “do” for Robyn unless she verbally asked for something. Within two weeks, Robyn spoke in full sentences and never had another problem with speech.

  14. janechese says:

    you could do a series on Ming’s early development-so cute and something everyone would love.

  15. pixilated2 says:

    Such a lovely story! Julie, you are one of the few mom’s I know, that actually knows that Expressive Jargon IS language! The child creates it out of all the phonemes he he hears and can reproduce, and then “talks” to you, or himself, and understands perfectly what he is on about. It is hilarious, and yet amazing too. ~Lynda

  16. Beautiful. You really know how to let these precious little stories unfold.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: