“Dog” remains the word of the day, the week, the month. “Hi!” still pops out occasionally, but “dog” is for everything, all the time. Even ceiling light fixtures and sprinkler heads.
At first, it was fun to see what new things Bayboh would point at and exclaim, “Dog!” There were fish at the children’s museum. “Dog!” There was a tiny spider hanging over the changing table. “Dog!”
I was laughing about this with our nanny, retelling the story of the weekend with Bayboh on my hip. “And he’d point at the fish and say, ‘Dog!’ and I’d say, ‘Fish!’ and he’d say, ‘Dog!’ ‘Fish!’ ‘Dog!’ ‘Fish!’ ‘Dog!’ And then there was a spider and he’d say ‘Dog!’ and I’d say, ‘Spider!’ ‘Dog!’ ‘Spider!’ ‘Dog!’ ‘Spider!’…” She laughed, I laughed, and then we noticed that Bayboh was quietly staring at us very intently. We looked at him, he looked at us. And then he said, ‘Dog!’
I come home in the evening and he smiles and laughs through the safety gate at the top of the mudroom stairs, but before I can even put down my bag, he starts to cry. This means “Pick me up!”, so I do. The tears stop instantly, he points emphatically at the fridge and proclaims, “Dog!”
I say, “Yes, yes, there’s a dog over there,” but then I’m talking to our nanny about how the day went and all that. Bayboh is quickly restless, squirming and flailing and seeming to want nothing other than to be down on the floor again. I put him down. He wails. I pick him up, he points at the fridge and says, “Dog!” This repeats until I take him over to the fridge and we have a long chat, pointing at the pictures.
“That’s not a dog! That’s Shmoogie!"
“That’s not a dog! That’s Daddy!”
"That’s not a dog! That’s Mr. P!”
“That’s not a dog! That’s Abuelo!”
“Yes! That’s a dog!”
In the morning, he sits in his highchair eating Cheerios and pointing at Shmoogie’s apron hanging on the wall. “Dog!”
“Owl,” I say it slowly, this is our routine, every morning, “Owl says whooo whooo!”
He smiles and giggles and cocks his head into his shoulder.