My Daughter Speaks in Jabberwock

I want to capture this moment because I think it’s one of those things that will fade in the memory later. My daughter has made up her first word.

Now, I’m not talking about a typical baby’s babble. No. Vivian has crafted her new favourite word which, as best I can tell, is spelt Sanchinanchino. Sanchinanchino used to be a noun, verb, adjective and possibly a state of being, but has settled into the name of a mythical kingdom where everything is skewed off of reality.

And I’ve been told a lot about this mythical kingdom. When I mentioned that stores closed at 8 p.m., Vivian told me that, “in Sanchinanchino, the stores all open in the evening and stay open all night.” Robins have rainbow feathers in Sanchinanchino. There are princess castles and the laws of physics do not appear to apply.

It seems to be a beautiful place.

One of my earliest memories involves me making up words as well. I remember being in an old apartment my parents used to live in before I was 3 years, eight months. I was clearly just getting used to this language thing. My father would call to my mother in the kitchen (this being the mid 70s), saying “Honey! I love you!” and I’d mimic that. I then went on to say, “Honey! I—” and then some made-up word involving a lot of vowels. Of course, my mother had no idea what I’d said, and clearly I had to go back to the drawing board.

Vivian is about the age I was when I did that, but it’s interesting that she’s applying her made-up word differently. It’s definitely a place or a thing, here. And she’s using it in grammatically correct ways. I wonder if this means that, even at three and a half, my daughter is already set to surpass me.

Certainly she has in Sanchinanchino.

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