Tricky's vocabulary has been increasing in leaps and bounds.
Many's the time we sit and chat, he and I, perhaps over a chilled sippy cup of milo milk and a zucchini muffin.
Early in the morning we might discuss a passing garbage truck ( iss got fashing lights!) or ponder the mysterious opening and shutting of a neighbour's garage door (door go up and car comes out. Now door go down!).
We might lightly debate the pros and cons of watching Charlie & Lola before we have our weetbix (YES! Mine watch NOW!) , or playfully spar over whether or not we really need to wear trousers. (NOOOOOOOOOOO!)
Of course I am not particularly essential to his conversation skills, he'll happily yarn with his teddy bears or his dinosaurs, and often in the bath he likes to have an indepth chat with his penis.
Every now and then he will come up with something unexpected. For the past week he has been shouting at me, apropros of nothing, Jinx! and then, even more intently, Personal Jinx!
In the car, if he spies a telephone box, he will call out Red Fox!
The other day I put Tricky on the phone to speak to his father who has been working for the past few days back in Country Town.
Say hello to Daddy, I said. Tricky did not say hello.
What he did say was: DADDY IS A PLONKER.
It seems Tricky has also been been doing a lot of vocabulary practise with his cousins, the Naughty Nephews. Three days a week they travel together to and from school/daycare. It's a fifteen minute car ride but this is ample time to teach your baby cousin about spotting red foxes and casting jinxes and personal jinxes, not to mention plonkers. I have asked the NNs not to say this anymore, with particular emphasis aimed at Naughty Nephew 2.
("Even if you do change it to John Howard, I don't care, no more plonkers.")
This morning it was my turn to drive them and after an obligatory round of Twinkle Twinkle and a few Red Fox! spottings, Naughty Nephews 2 and 3 got down to brass tacks.
Say Ferrari, says NN3
Say Honda Odyssey, says NN2
Say Father Christmas... say Al Qaida... say Plonker... HEY! I call over my shoulder.
Ok, just say Father Christmas.
Lessons halt as we park the car and everyone gets out. Tricky is fascinated by school and loves walking in the gate with the Naughty Nephews. He is facinated by all the big kids in their matching clothes.
It makes me a little moist-eyed to see him, hand in hand with his cousins. In his big hat and shorts he almost looks like a junior version of them, except instead of school colours he has on his stripey shirt with the robot and his hat is lime green, not institution blue.
Bye boys, I call after them, come on Tricky - time to go to daycare. Say goodbye.
Say goodbye, says Naughty Nephew 3.
Say mustard gas, says Naughty Nephew 2.
But Tricky, all big eyes and stripey robot shirt, says nothing at all.