I know why the caged bird screams.
I think I’ve mentioned Blythe’s scream before — the one that sounds like a ring-wraith. At 18 months, it only grows more powerful by the day. She longs to communicate, to be heard and understood. Although lately, I’ve felt a bit like a pet. She’s resorted to clapping anytime that I respond correctly to one of her signs or words. Applauds and smiles show her approval and contentment with the both of us. However, my failure to reply correctly evokes an alarm: “the scream.” Not a tantrum, as if she hasn’t gotten her way (although those happen also), rather these screams echo the frustration of being caged by the limited vocabulary. I watch her and see the way she studies her picture books and practices the sounds that roll out of my mouth, desperately trying to expand this short and finite vocabulary list. And she is. Everyday new words tumble out of those chubby cheeks, giving us privy to something seemingly small and easy, to us anyway. For instance, I say, “Blythe, let’s go and get dressed.” She replies, “Bow. Shoes.” — the essentials, of course. She also loves my phone (as most toddlers do). The other day, I caught her walking around taking pictures, saying “Cheese!” Right now, she’s sitting beside me, bouncing on a deflating balloon, saying “Mom! (she only says my name in exclamation.) Bye.” Translation: “Are you done yet?”
On another note, I think I’ve managed to weasel around the image problem.