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So you are two ...


(Spanish -- Chirp Chirp) ... Imagine a year of searching for birds, in books, off patios, at the marina, in the park. Just so Nooky can go Chirp Chirp. She loves her birds. And few sights are so satisfying as a small child bouncing her way through a flock of pigeons. Best is when the pigeons hope to be fed, like the other month at Marina Del Ray, where Nooky would do laps with the pigeons, like a see-saw, our Flummi running, pigeons scattering, then returning, then Nooky on the return pass ... pigeons scattering.


(Universal) Nooky is particularly fond of animal sounds. Ask her about a bird and she says Bio-Bio, ask her about a dog and she says Wow-Wow. Ask her about a cat and she says Meow-Meow. Ask her what her name is and she says, with great hesitation, and unprecedented shyness .... Mooooo ... sometimes followed by a soft "k." You wonder where she gets her self esteem from.


(Spanish, Los Sapatos, Shoes) Her Spanish language skills are mostly hidden from us. So many sounds and words she makes, but many go over our heads. Like that papatoes she said whenever she put on her shoes. It took us a while to know she was referring to shoes in Spanish. We picked up Aqua quicker, but El Gato and El Pero remained for long periods of time impressions of misformed words. She speaks fine, her vocabulary is huge, its not her fault that our Spanish is so poor.


(English, I will do it) So it seems with April children. Maybe with second children. Saskia is quite content if you do it for her. Anouk not. It wouldn't be so bad if she could actually do it. But all too often you can't. Mostly when you urgently want to go somewhere. You get her, her jacket, and she insists on buttoning it, small fingers small buttons, but it doesn't work. Try to help her? No way! Iduet. Finally, after much too much negotiation you get her jacket on. Then comes the shoes. Iduet. Much later you somehow get to the car. She gets in the car seat, ready to go, just need to fasten her in ... Iduet.


(German, Dreirad, Tricycle). Nooky likes her bike. Well she likes Saskia's bike too. Problem is that she can only reach the peddles to go backwards, and she insists on peddling. So you spend the time pushing and she contributes by braking. You want to steer, but so does she. Iduet.


(Universal, Ouch). She has her share. Maybe this is her favorite word. Tonight, her first day as a two year old she is going to bed with a big boil on her forehead. Already suffered through a double broken arm, and somehow still fearless. The other day I came home and she ran to me and sad Ouwa Ouwa, and pointed to the couch. Turns out that she fell off and got a nice shiner on her head, but the way she acts you would think she is worried about the couch. Crashing her head into the table? Ouwa, Ouwa as she points at the table... as if to say: "poor table" A child who truly relishes those bumps in the road.


(Universal). That's my favorite word. Who can forget the day just last week, when Nookster, Sassi, and Andrea came to bring me some things at work. They came with the Burly to the back of the Math Sciences Building at UCLA, and made a break and started their lunch on some logs there. I come out the back door see the three Broses and Nooky looks at me and pats the spot next to her and says Papa Hier, Papa Hier. Who could be so honored.


(Universal). Maybe thats my favorite. It is so devilish. Really. Like the day she was beating on Saskia. Just going up to her and wacking her. Now Saskia, being socialized with the intellectual elite has learned to use her words. So she stands there and gets a thunking saying: "I don't like that. I don't like it when you do that. Stop that." Thunk, Thunk goes Anouk. And if Saskia is not suffering enough, Nooky might just try to bite her. So the other day I got kind of upset. Lost my temper. Grabbed Nooky by the arm and dragged her into her room really rather roughly. About half way there I here a strange gurgling sound coming from that bundle of joy below. Uh Oh. I was worried. Was Nooky suffering under my outburst was I hurting her? No. She was dying of laughter. She seems to think that getting in trouble is the funniest thing on Earth. And maybe it is. You've probably never seen a child so delight in being sent to her room. Sometimes when I try to look her in the eye when I discipline her she can't do it. Mostly for fear of cracking up I think. Well of course its contagious, you can't help laughing with her ... well and of course all the good lessons to be preached are dissipated in the joyousness of the moment.


(German, chair). Nooky has this little wooden Community Play things chair. It used to be Saskia's but you would never know. Its one of her most important possession. Armed with her "HiHi" and her "Iduet" and her "Stuhl" Nooky is ready for anything. Thinking about getting that fork... forget it. Off goes Nooky, charging to her room, shouting "Stuhl-Stuhl" Back in a flash with her "Stuhl" she conquers the cupboard and gets the spoon. The other week, Andrea in a fit of anger with Nookster told her that she couldn't come downstairs to get the laundry. To make sure she didn't escape while she got it she locked the door on the way out. But what's a lock to a child with a "Stuhl." Optimism undissipated, Nooky got her "Stuhl" unlocked the door and let herself out.


(Universal). Nooky likes her babies. Nothing like cuddling a soft (or hard) little baby to sleep. Doing her best to make their beds and put them to sleep. Dress them. Sit with them. Push them around in your strollers. And when your tired of all that, just wing them across the room! She likes Hannah too, an 8 month old who Nerea watches and who joins Nooky on her jaunts to Stoner Park.

Park, Spielplatz, Buch, Pizza, Kaka, PeePee, Ball, Saft, Brot, Lala (marmalade), Butter, Mehr, Milch, Tea. Fun and food and other thoughts. An unforgettable, but yet somehow perilously close to being forgotten, recollection with each word that I dig from my memory. Like the time that Andrea went to the bathroom in the public restroom, and Anouk loudly proclaimed: "Bravo Mama, Bravo."

Bravo, Anouk, Bravo -- Lieber Papa.

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