Sunday, March 21, 2010

Talking and Wining

No, that's not a typo. I didn't mean "whining" or even "winning," I meant "wining". But, I'll get to that shortly.

Over the last couple weeks, I've had a couple people mention the fact that there hasn't been a Strange and Benevolent entry in nearly a month. Some people have even gone so far as to check in to make sure that nothing had gone wrong. Luckily, everything has been fine. It's just been that that combination of workin' and baby-raisin' which we call life has kept us busy and distracted enough that neither Sarah nor I have had the chance to really sit down and type an entry. Still, I know we have friends and family near and far that need their Stella fix, so let's check in with her, shall we?

Actually, she's not quite forming full sentences yet. But, now that she's mastered the art of walking, it definitely seems like Stella's focus has turned to communicating with us, both verbally and otherwise. It probably also helps that recently we've been watching a baby sign language video with her, and she seems to actually be picking up a few signs from that.

So, since I have a feeling that the coming months will introduce a veritable tidal wave of verbage, I thought it might be nice to take a snapshot of where her vocabular sits today.


"Kitty" - She's been saying "kitty" actually for months and months now. It was easily her first word, and beat pretty much the rest of her vocabular to the punch by about a good 6 months. To this day, pretty much any animal is a "kitty," though felines still get the loudest and clearist exclamations.

"Key" - She picked up this one as soon as she discovered that her favorite thing to play with pretty much shared the same word as her favorite animal (see above).

"Mama," "Papa" and "Granpa" - Probably a little wishful thinking here. But, we feel like we've caught all three of these on various, random occasions.

"Mum-mum" - This is the name of what was one of her favorite snacks, a rice cake called mum-mums. We also found out later that it is the Indonesian word for "eat" ...which makes sense, since Tirza speaks Indonesian around Stella daily. Pretty much any snack seems to be a mum-mum.

"Bwu-bwu" - Her version of a dog barking. And, by default, her word for dog.

"Ah-ah-ah" - Her monkey sound, and default word for monkey.

"Brrrrrr" - Probably the most rare and random Stella word. We own a vibrating frog-shaped massager (similar to this). Stella is pretty obsessed with it. This is her basically her imitating the sound it makes when turned on and placed on the hardwood floor.

"Ba-ba" - This one is a bit of a mystery. It's either A) "Bottle" or B) "Bye-bye" or C) "Ball." ...or maybe all three. We haven't quited pinned it down yet.


Waving and blowing kisses - Departing guests are usually treated to waves goodbye and, if they are lucky, some blown kisses. Passing buses, airplanes flying overhead and even the occasional flushed toilet also receive waves goodbye.

Nodding and shaking her head "yes" and "no" - After a couple months of mixed signals, she's now pretty dependable with both nodding and shaking her head in response to questions.

"Milk" - Probably her most dependable true sign-language sign. We were amazed when she learned this one after only watching the sign-language video once.

"Cracker" - She sometimes does the sign-language sign for cracker, though I think she uses it for "snack" in general.

"Dog" - In addition to her usual "bwu-bwu" she also sometimes pats her leg at the same time, the sign for "dog."

"More" - Stella learning this sign might be opening some sort of Pandora's box... but for now we are enjoying her being able to let us know if she wants more milk, dinner, etc.

"Thirsty/Hungry/Teething" - In addition to the milk and cracker signs, she also has a generic mouth rubbing gesture she's been doing for months which is her default if she is thisty... or hungry ...or her mouth hurts ...or just wants something.

"???" - Usually when asking Stella where something is, Sarah and I will turn our hands upward and cock our heads to one side with a confused look on our faces. Often, Stella will mirror this gesture as if to respond "I don't know!"

In addition to all these, it's impressive how much she seems to understand these days, even if she can't respond with words. Talking about changing her diapers will cause her to cry. Asking her to go get her shoes will send her hunting around the house. Asking her to pick up some trash and put it in the garbage will usually get results (if she wants to throw it away).

Through this array for words and gestures, its amazing to feel like we are finally having "conversations" with her and each day we find ourselves communicating more and more with this little person who shares our house and lives.

And, in addition, she is still good at communicating her opinion of certain things. For example, this is her saying "Stormtroopers are scary."


In addition to work and Stella, wine-making and tasting has definitely also kept Sarah and I pretty busy. Last month, we bottled the '08 wine we'd been making and moved the whole wine-making operation from my parents' house to the wine-making room that my dad and I have been building in the back of our garage.

Pumping the '08 wine from the barrel to a carboy. Sometimes wine-making has a definite "mad scientist" feel to it.

My dad moves the empty wine barrel from the crawlspace under his house where it's lived for the past couple years.

The whole operation, plus the newly bottled wine, in the back of my dad's truck.

Looking through our garage into the new "wine room." There's still some work to be done, but its coming along.

Fellow winemaker, Gary, sterilizes the mouth of the barrel after putting the '09 Syrah into it.

The '08 Stella Rose's Stellar Red!

In addition to winemaking, we also got to do some wine tasting with friends last weekend. It turns out that there are a half dozen wineries just down the hill from our house. We ended up only making it to a couple (one had eight wines available for tasting), so hopefully we'll be able to try more next month.

Sarah and our friend, Stephanie, taste wine at Cadence Winery. (I'm blaming the blurriness of the photo on the camera... not on the wine intake of the photographer.)

Hopefully, Sarah and I will get back in the blogging habit, and you won't all have to wait another month until our next entry. But, until then, just remember, these boots were made for walking!

1 comment:

Shahaf said...

For some reason I read that as "winning" and as I read the post I kept thinking "so what did they win??" :-)