“Everything you say to your child is absorbed, catalogued and remembered.” ‒ Maria Montessori
When Miss A was born, my parents had a complete guide book for understanding the baby language. Wondering whether I am talking in Greek, then no! They actually bought the book Dunstan Baby Language along with its DVD.
When I was born, my mother was going back and forth on her rectangular black box, checking for what the sounds meant. With me she took it for granted that she would remember it. And can you believe it that even after writing a blog on it she did not remember the baby language. I guess she is growing old 😉
Before I go ahead, let me explain to you about ‘The Dunstan Baby Language’. This language was introduced by Pricilla Dunstan. According to her, infants from 0-3 months make sound reflexes. She says that an adult experiences reflexes such as hiccups and burps which are understood when sound is added to them. In a similar manner when sound is added to a baby’s reflex, a pre-emptive “cry” occurs first, much before the ungovernable cry.
She has defined five different words or sound reflexes along with their meaning:
- Neh – A “Neh” or a “Nah” means that I am hungry. The important part of this sound is to listen for the “n” sound in the cry.
- Owh – This means I am sleepy and tired and time for bed. This sound is produced when your baby yawns and the mouth takes an oval shape.
- Eh – This means that I need to be burped. The sound is usually produced when a large air bubble is trapped in the chest and tightens the muscles. You can also hear a repetitive “eh-eh-eh.”
- Heh – I am uncomfortable is what this sound communicates. Your baby might be too hot or too cold or just wants a diaper change. This sound is usually produced in response to a skin reflex, like an itch on the bum or sweat. There might be a repetitive “heh-heh” or “ha-ha-ha-ha.”
- Eairh – This usually communicates that I have lower gas that needs to be relieved. This sound is produced when the trapped air is unable to release through a burp and travels to the stomach thereby, tightening the muscles of the abdomen. You can also hear “air” or “eeerrrhhh.”
Now let’s talk about me. For me, I have been an effective communicator right from the time I was born. I used to and still convey what I think and feel, mainly through my crying 🙂 I also try to communicate through gestures and eye contact. Mommy understands most of my cues, however, there is one she does not catch on very well… and that is… I need to burp. I communicate to her through cooing, the so-called expert baby language and even through eye contact. But mommy just does not understand (or maybe she is too lazy to burp me as she always asks Papa or Nani to do it). What happens next is nothing less than a disaster. I throw up all the milk. Then she sits with her hand on her head talking to herself, “If only I had burped you!” And she has to change my clothes for the nth time during the day.
At 8 weeks I suddenly realised that I have a voice. I started cooing to make simple sounds. This thrilled everyone to the core. Seriously adults are so funny! Since there are a lot of people to talk to me, I look intently at each one of them (when they talk) to improve my vocabulary. I have also realised that sneezing, smiling, gagging and coughing will get me quick attention (let this be a secret between you and me). With each passing day, I am getting more ideas of how to communicate and tell interesting things to my folks. See I am becoming wiser 🙂
That’s all for today, ba-bye, shall return tomorrow with another story. Also, don’t forget to read:
The story of my Arrival