Monday, September 27, 2010

Cry of the velociraptor

Here is a partial index of the noises A makes:

1. The Ur-giggle -- My kid doesn't quite yet understand the tenets of comedy (irony, slapstick, wordplay, hypocrisy, despair, and existential angst), but she can sort of see them on the horizon.  Certain stimuli will elicit some kind of proto-laughter from her, a very special staccato grunt that you earn if you smooch on her arms from her wrists up to her shoulders, or if you pretend to chomp at her hands.  The Ur-giggle lacks all of the pitch and melodics of genuine laughter, but it has the rhythm about right.  It's like a happier version of an asthma attack, or the wheezing of a jolly long-term smoker.

2. The Velociraptor Cry -- This is a stranger one.  When you keep your face a few inches from hers, eventually her hands, in their semi-random flailing, will smack onto your skin, and find a grip in your cheeks or nose or eyelids.  This becomes a genuinely riotous occurrence, and she will express some mysterious emotion or thought (amusement? conquest? resentment?) with a single extended, shrill, piercing note.  Many times I am sitting there, letting her mangle my face, as she literally screams inches away from me.  I am so close to her that all I can see if her mouth and the little gems of saliva gathering at the corners of her lips during her high, strangely monotonous shriek.  If this was a horror movie, her skin would peel back and she would become a demon and eat my face off.  But so far she just expresses herself with the velociraptor cry.

3.  The Wail of the Dispossessed -- At least once a night, after she has been put to bed, A will cry because she has rolled over onto her stomach and now finds herself at a complete loss as to how she got there, and how she could possibly flip herself back over.  This is a comically pathetic noise.  She is crying, but her heart's not in it.  Then we just sneak back into her room, try to gently flip her over without either fully waking her up or breaking her arm, and then hightail it out of there.   Sadly, her learning curve on this particular issue has been a little disappointing. Here's a hint! Roll over again!

4.  The Woo -- We are reaching the really exciting phase of parenthood where it's okay to throw your child around.  We can toss her upwards and actually give her a fraction of a second to fly and fall in the air.  She just loves it, too.  She always seems to look at some nearby point, perhaps to ground her perception, but she just clasps her hands and offers a big wide smile.  She may grunt or chuckle but she will more likely just squeal happily, long ropes of saliva falling through the air like the massive payloads of fire retardant that airplanes drop to fight forest fires.  She is up in the air, weightless for a second at our outstretched fingertips, smiling at us as we brave the intermittent showers of spittle to laugh at her glee and to woo along with her, watching her fly above us from our place on the distant ground.

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