Day 4: Eliza’s First Word

January 18th, 2016

Eliza + Phoebe

Eliza on left, Phoebe on right


I‘m taking part in a 30-day writing experiment. The theme for me is “personal, not pretty.” See Kale & Cigarettes for details and the Facebook Group to read stories by other 500-words-ers.

I’m pretty confident that Eliza’s first word was “up.” 

Before I had babies I had this idea that their developmental milestones would be clear “aha” moments. They would take one step and be solidly walking. They would rise suddenly from a babble of incoherent words to speak a crystal-clear and absolutely context-appropriate phrase.

The reality turns out to be a little more amorphous. Both of my daughters started taking steps a few months ago, and they are still tentatively getting up, wobbling for a few shaky steps, then falling down and crawling like gangbusters instead. As for words, it’s debatable whether any of their ramblings are on purpose.

However, I have noticed in the last few days that Eliza is definitely saying “up.”

She says it with a drawn out U and a very enunciated P. Uh-PPPPPP. I think they call this “popping your Ps,” and it’s terrible if you’re trying to get a job as a voiceover artist. I’ll have to talk to her about this.

I’m not surprised about “up,” because a few weeks ago, I started saying it every time I picked her up. And now, when she reaches for me, she says “up!” She also practices saying “up” a lot when I’m not near her. I hear her in the playpen and in the bath: “Up! Up! Up!”

I feel sheepishly manipulative about Eliza’s first word, because I purposely starting emphasizing the word “up” knowing that being picked up is of utmost importance to both of my girls, and that they’d be very inclined to first tackle a word that would further that mission. Is it creepy to plant your daughter’s first word in her mind?

Phoebe hasn’t said her first word yet, but I’m betting it’s also going to be “up.”

My daughters are identical. So far, they’ve reached every developmental milestone within about 24 hours of each other—rolling over, getting teeth, crawling, sticking their fingers down their own throats to make themselves gag (really, baby? really?).

Having identical twins is like conducting your own personal study into the power of genetics. It’s fascinating and somewhat eerie. When they were very small, Jon and I had a bad habit of referring to them as “this one” and “the other one.”

“I’ll grab this one. You grab the other one.”

Terrible. We eventually learned their names, but the reality is, they still do almost everything together.

Still, I am determined to instill a sense of individualism in my daughters. I try to steal little moments with them as individuals, but it’s tough to pull off when I work fulltime and really want to maximize my time with both of them every single day. Usually, my attempts at one-on-one bonding happen at the end of the day, when I take turns holding one of them in the rocker while I placate the other one with a bottle of milk. Sometimes this works. Sometimes the baby not being held stands up in her crib and righteously shakes the rails while yelling at me, her eyes screaming “UP!!!”

Share Button

2 Responses to “Day 4: Eliza’s First Word”

  1. jill says:

    brilliant! UP was my dog Rocky’s first word, too, as in, “UP UP UP!” to jump into the back of the station wagon, or “UP UP UP” to come upstairs to bed. then we taught UP to our other fur kids. it meant going great places, or snuggling in bed. what could be better?

    if the other one says “GO!”

  2. [...] while back I wrote a post about how up was Eliza’s first word. It was also Phoebe’s first word, it turned out. It’s still Phoebe’s only word, and she uses [...]

Leave a Reply