"Someday's gonna be a busy day..."

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Dunstan Dunce

My loving sister from Oz sent us a DVD when I was pregnant. It's called "Dunstan Baby Language," and promised to reveal the secrets of baby talk. I thought the idea was sweet; D snorted and rolled his eyes. Then we kind of forgot about it and at one point it became a coaster for Tanzi's beer during her summer visit. My sister from Oz kept asking me whether I'd watched the DVD and I would hem and haw and say, "Ooohhh, not yet, but next week for sure!"

Then came the business of giving birth and recuperating and learning to breastfeed and no sleep, and needless to say, Ms. Dunstan was completely forgotten. Until the screaming began, about the fourth week after Jady lady's arrival.

I was slumped on the couch, bleary-eyed, watching my gorgeous daughter turn purple with unexplained rage. She wasn't colicky, and she really didn't scream that much. But when she did - man, oh man, that kid could really holler. For a long time. Her screams made both me and D want to run and hide, which was not a helpful reaction.

It was then that I remembered the promises of the lovely, raven-haired Ms. Priscilla Dunstan of Australia. I lunged for the coffee table, shuffled through the stacks of assorted crap and fished out the magical DVD.

"Your baby speaks Dunstan," it said on the back. "Your baby is talking to you. Now you can understand." Tucking Jade under one arm, I peeled off the cellophane and popped the disc into the DVD player. "You will feel less stress as your baby becomes happier. You will feel like a successful parent," the insert promised. Eight years of research, remarkable story of an Aussie woman, universal language of babies, blah blah blah. I turned up the volume. My husband would likely laugh at me, and my brother-in-law would make that "you're crazy" hand motion when I told him, but I would do it. I would learn the whole freaking Dunstan lexicon if it would only stop the insanity.

As luck would have it, the lesson (and DVD) was short: Dunstan-ese only consisted of 5 words. Yeah. What are these groundbreaking words, you ask? NEH, HEH, EH, EAIRH, and of course OWH. Meaning hungry, uncomfortable, gassy, really gassy and tired. And ALL babies say these words. Yep, all of them, regardless of race, language, background etc. At least, that's what Missus Dunstan says.

Now, call me nutty, but I really did begin to hear Jade say "NEH" (which I came to interpret as HUNGRY RIGHT NOW MUMMY) and "EH" (which means OW OW OW THE GAS! I AM A WINDY BABY!) and this was extremely helpful, as I no longer tried to shove a boob in her mouth when she said "Eh" or put her to sleep when she said "Neh." As for the rest...well, perhaps I wasn't listening closely enough. I don't think I ever heard her say anything else on the DVD.

It's a neat idea, very nicely packaged, and Ms. Dunstan is mighty attractive. The thing that burns me about the whole Dunstan thing though, is that they don't tell you about the million other words babies say. Such as "WAAAAAHHHHH!", which I personally think has to be the most universal of all baby words. Or what about "AAAAIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEE?" Or even "ARRRGHGHGHGHGHGHGHGHHHH!" (Oh wait, that's what I say after a Jady screamfest.)

Anyways, I'm glad there wasn't an exam for Dunstanese, because I surely would have failed. I've taken the handy chart off my fridge, because I got tired of trying to explain and defend it, and frankly, Jady Lady and I are starting to come to vague understandings based on facial expressions. We'll figure each other out eventually, DVD or no DVD.

Now if they'd just make one on the universal language of husbands, I'd be set.


Muffy St. Bernard said...

I, too, have often wondered what husbands mean when they say "EAIRH." I think it depends on the context.

Kimber said...

Oh Muffy, you are incorrigable!

tanzi said...

Thank Gawd that chart is finally off the fridge. What else can I make fun of you for now...