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Dante has acquired a fascinating habit of language play in the last few months, and it’s picked up and proliferated even more in the past week or two. For several months now, he’s had the habit of stretching out the phonemes in a word. An example from tonight, with a bit of manners teaching thrown in:

DANTE: I want extremely cold water with ice cubes!
PAUL: [Saying nothing, I give him the “I think you’re forgetting something” look]
DANTE: Will you please get it please? [He always says “please” twice once he remembers to ask politely. I’ve told him he only needs to say it once, but he seems to like saying it twice. Okay, whatever.]
PAUL: Good, I’ll go get it.
DANTE: Please get kuh, yoo, buh, zuh! Kuh-yoobs! Not kuh-yoob!
PAUL: Oh, I see, you want me to make sure to give you multiple cubes, not just one?
DANTE: Yeah! Meltiple! Maltiple! Mull-tipple!

That last bit illustrates another thing he’s started into lately, playing around with the phonemes and altering them just a bit to create variations on a word. Another thing he likes to do is skid and stutter on the last consonant sound. “Where is the bread-d-d-d-d-d-duh?”

Since Easter, I’ve noticed a new one: subtracting all the vowels from a word. The first time I really took in that he was doing it was as I was helping him do a headstand. He would slide backwards down my knees as I sat on the couch until he was on his head, and then raise his legs, just for a second. He couldn’t balance much when I let him go, but he liked doing it. So he kept saying, “Let’s do another headstand!”

Then it changed to, “Let’s do another hdstnd!” (pronounced just like it looks.) Soon he was taking out most of the vowels as he talked to me. “Ddy! I wnt t d nthr hdstnd!”

It’s amazing watching his brain become playful with language, now that he’s getting more and more comfortable with it.

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