While she generally tries to pronounce things the way they sound, Norah also has odd little words for a few different objects. It takes us a little while to figure out what she means. For example, we are to sing "The Wheels on the Bus" when she says, "Round-a-round!" "Bob Barsh" is Spongebob Squarepants. (Yes, she watches a little Spongebob. Judge away.) "Hoppy" is a rabbit. So when she started saying "Noonie," we tried to figure out what she meant.
A week or so ago I thought I had discovered the answer. We were playing our game Goodnight! Good Morning! and I put a little blanket on her.
I paused. "You want Noonie?"
I thought for a second. "Show Mama your Noonie."
She ran out of her room and we ended up in the living room, her clutching her favorite blanket.
"Is Noonie your blanket?"
I was pretty proud of my detective skills and let Ryan and Grandma know.
But then the other day I was holding her jacket.
"You want your blanket, Baby?"
"NO. Noonie jucka."
I paused. "Is this Noonie's jacket?"
Now I was a little worried. "Does Noonie want to wear her jacket?"
"Baby... are you Noonie?"
I told Ryan this revelation later. He rolled his eyes. Norah was cuddling on my lap. He asked her, "Norah, does your toe hurt?"
"Uh-huh," she answered absentmindedly, bending her Mommy Hugs a little backwards.
"Do you want a unicorn?"
I snapped at him, "Well of course she wants a unicorn. Who doesn't?" I was convinced our daughter either had an imaginary friend, an alter ego, or another personality. All were a little worrisome. Mostly the personality one.
The next day happened to be Norah's 18-month appointment. Yeah, I know she's 20 months. I'm an idiot. We were seeing a new doctor, and our old doctor apparently chose this particular doctor because she's "laid-back." In other words, she thought we were kind of excitable. Anyway, after a few basic information questions, Norah warmed up a little and introduced us to Dr. Wendi. She patted me and said, "Mommy."
"Is that your mommy?" Dr. Wendi asked.
"Mm-hmm." Then she patted her belly. "Noonie."
Before the doc could say anything, I blurted out, "She's Noonie. She renamed herself. Is that normal? Can she just not pronounce 'Norah?' Does she have an imaginary friend or another personality?"
These possibilities suddenly seemed terrifying to me. Well, mispronunciation isn't terrifying, but imaginary friends are. I've heard a million times that it's not uncommon; that there are tons of kids who have little friends to talk to and play with. But I never had experience with that. Maybe I just wasn't creative. But the fact is, people talking to themselves, or to their made-up companions, freaks me the hell out. And multiple personality disorder is beyond terrifying. Years of therapy, medication, total dependence, the lost opportunities... I couldn't even let my mind dip a toe into that one.
My panicked eyes searched Dr. Wendi's face for any sign. Worry, sadness, stress, concerned, a twinge that would indicate she was worried but knew she had to be calm and professional...
She just shrugged. "Kids are weird."
The rest of the appointment was fine. The doc said Norah was very verbal and that she had lovely eyelashes. She left us to get dressed and I looked at Norah, dancing with her new little Curious George book, chanting "Mon-key! Mon-key!" and grinning.
I grinned, too. "Come on, Noonie. Let's roll." Kids are weird. Good lesson.