by: Flaming Trails
“Daddy. Daddy. Dad-dee.”
“That doesn’t seem to be having much effect, Victor.”
Victor glanced up at his wife, standing in the doorway. “Well, it’s not hurting anything either, is it?”
“I suppose not,” Alice allowed, smiling. She joined him and Chester on the floor, being careful not to knock over any of Chester’s many block piles. “Goodness, but you two have been busy…how about ‘Mummy?’” she added to their son. “Can you say ‘Mummy,’ Chester?”
Chester stared at her – then laughed and swept a hand through his latest tower, sending it clattering to the floor. Victor couldn’t help a laugh too. “Yes, yes – the blocks are much more interesting than your parents hounding you to speak,” he admitted, picking up a block at random. He pondered the ‘A’ carved into its side. “We’re just – well. I actually don’t know how long this usually takes.”
“I asked Aunt Susan – she said that my cousin Jerome didn’t speak until he was almost two,” Alice said, finding a ‘V’ block among the chaos. “Stephen, Terrence, and Lionel all started chattering around their first birthday, though. Considering Chester’s just shy of his, perhaps we’re pushing him a bit early.”
“Ba ba ba,” Chester said, reaching for her block.
“Yes, here you go.” Alice handed it to him. “And it’s not like he has any trouble making himself understood, either,” she added as he very seriously placed it atop another block.
“True,” Victor admitted, adding his block to the growing tower. Chester clapped and started searching for another. “But it would be nice to hear actual words, instead of just babble. He’s just so close – I guess I can’t help being impatient.”
“So am I,” Alice assured him. “I’m deeply curious as to what his first word’s going to be. But there’s nothing we can do to speed the process up.” She smirked. “Besides bark ‘Mummy’ and ‘Daddy’ at him regularly, I suppose.”
Chester held up a block in triumph and placed it atop his tower. Then he promptly kicked it over, laughing hysterically. Victor snorted, shaking his head. “What a strange child you are,” he teased, tickling Chester’s sides.
A cold nose poked its way into Victor’s armpit. “Ah! Oh – I see you’re up again,” Victor said, scooching away from the probing snout. “Good nap?”
Lightning barked and slipped under his arm, licking his face. Victor scratched him behind the ears. “Yes, you’re a good puppy…how about that, Chester?” he added, turning the corgi around to face his son. “Can you say ‘puppy?’”
Chester tilted his head. “Puppy,” Victor repeated, stroking Lightning’s fur. “Doggie. Lightning.”
“Ruff!” Lightning wagged his tail, then leaned forward to give Chester a few licks. Chester laughed and clumsily patted his head. “Litning!”
Victor froze. What the – that – that hadn’t sounded like his usual babble. “Lightning?” he repeated, a hopeful note in his voice.
“Litning!” Chester threw his arms around Lightning’s neck, giggling as the dog immediately took the opportunity to nuzzle his ear. “Litning!”
Victor gaped for a moment, then whipped his head around to look at Alice. She too was gawking at the pair, eyes wide. “I…all right, I confess – of all things, I never expected the dog’s name,” she said.
“To be fair, he’s currently the only other member of the household who’s Chester’s size,” Victor said, grinning as child and corgi began rolling together on the floor. “Chester probably feels a kinship with him.”
“Litning!” Chester agreed, roughly rubbing Lightning’s back. Lightning retaliated with a big slurp up his nose. “Ah!”
“Careful with him,” Alice said to the pair generally, smiling. “And that’s true. As first words go, it’s certainly not bad.” She reached over and ruffled Chester’s hair. “But I expect ‘Mummy’ next.”
“Or ‘Daddy,’” Victor agreed, poking Chester’s nose.
Chester looked at each of them in turn. “Litning.”
“Right, yes, we get it, you prefer the dog…”