Summer has officially ended for me as I return to work to prepare the library for the coming school year. Man, I’ve missed this place. Returning to work means returning to workplace drama as well as revisiting some old friends. I was lucky enough to visit with some work friends over the summer, but others, like my tech support buddy Carlos and the internet-shy S I haven’t seen all summer.
This probably sounds really weird but the library has a particular smell in summer that is powerfully connected to my memories: I think of working in the heat as a newly pregnant lady, making friendships with students, laughing with Carlos, and listening to the Cardigans and trying to figure out what the hell I am was supposed to be doing my first year on the job. Good times.
I’m conflicted about leaving Isobel. She is hugely, hugely attached to me. Physically and emotionally. Leaving her in the morning while she looks at me with eyes full of tears, lower lip quivering and saying, “Mama,” about kills me dead every time. Walking into the library brings me back to life. This is what I enjoy, what stimulates me, what keeps me happy.
Happiness is a double-edged sword.
Isobel has changed so much since I was last in the library. My desk is still filled with photos of her before she could walk and some before she could crawl. Now she is as dexterous as a ninja and verbal to boot. I spoke really early (to make up for my late walking, I guess) and clearly enunciated every word. Isobel is not so precise and sometimes it takes Anthony and I a couple tries to figure out what she’s saying. To confuse things further, she speaks in English and Spanish plus has a large vocabulary of made up words and phrases that we fondly refer to as “Martian language.”
I have, however, decided to keep track of all the things she says in Spanish. People who don’t know my husband often think her Spanish vocab is part of her Martian language. I’m so proud to say she’s trilingual! (If you count Martian.)
Agua: Water Anthony’s family is Guatemalan and they pronounce this as “ah-wah” with a w for the g sound. It’s a softer pronounciation. That’s how Guate rolls.
Pacha: Bottle Sometimes pronounced “cha-cha” or “ta-cha.”
Chucho: Dog Anthony’s family all uses this word for “puppy” but I have Mexican friends who are unfamiliar with the term. It’s probably a regional thing. She often follows “chucho” with a hearty, “WOOF WOOF WOOF.”
Pescado: Fish she knows pescado, but generally defaults to the much easier “fishie.” That’s usually how it goes with her—she says the word in whatever language is easier for her.
Mas: More We hear this one a lot, and it’s usually accompanied by her baby sign for more. It’ll rip out your heart and then some.
Mio: Mine Mama Juani taught her this one. Thanks, Grandma!
Oso: Bear She looooves teddy bears.
Mimis: Sleeping This is either very regional to Guatemala or something just Anthony’s whole family knows, because they all say it.
Beso: Kiss She kissed me for the first time last night and my heart almost burst. I was sitting on the floor, watching her beloved Babba with her when she came up behind me, put her arms lightly around my neck, and kissed my hair lightly on the back of my head.
Words she recognizes but cannot say include manita, basura, boca, mira, aqui, vamanos, carro, comida, elote, fresas. I apologize if I butchered the spelling, I’m learning these words right along with Isobel.
Isobel has created her own vocab for words that are hard to pronounce in English and Spanish.
Shee-Shee: Horsey I don’t know how this came about but it did. She sometimes calls them Orsey. Lots of neighing for good measure.
Wower: Flower The L sound is hard for her.
Keekee: Kitty She can say kitty, but often she uses this version.
Ampa: Grandpa Referring to my FIL. She calls my Dad “Papa.”
Ama: Mom-Mom Referring to my Mom.
Wassey: Glasses It’s difficult to even transcribe this one. I’m not getting her version right, merely aiming for a ballpark transcription. It’s her word for glasses.
Poppy: Poppy OR Jupiter It’s like she refuses to acknowledge that they are two seprate cats. Jupiter is way out of her legue, words-wise. She defaults to Poppy and calls Zorro “Orro.” Sometimes she calls them “Boppy.”
Babba: Yo Gabba Gabba Self-explainatory.
Also, I am thrilled to say she has returned to her practice of saying “Wow!” all the time. What breaks my heart even further is that she even correctly uses, “ow.” The best word ever, of all time, is still “Mama.”