Mark taught River a guttural guffaw, a throaty, mocking laugh. It reminds me of the hacking sound the Chinese make as they clear their throat, except he follows it with a laugh instead of a spit. Mark did it to make River laugh, then got excited when River imitated him. They began to go back and forth, taking turns making this sound.
“You’re going to make him think this means something,” I said.
“He’s communicating with me!” he enthused. “This is the first time we’ve communicated.”
By this morning, as River guffawed all throughout breakfast, eagerly waiting my response, Mark was repentant.
“He thinks it’s language,” I said.
“I know. I shouldn’t have taught him that.”
An early lesson in what babies will pick up by imitation. In the meantime, he’s hacking with a smile all over the house, so proud of himself for picking up an adult skill, looking at us eagerly for a similar response.