Three months. 1/4 of a year. More than 1/6 of the time that Hudson was with us on this earth. The months go by and these fractions get bigger and Hudson’s life gets farther and farther away from us. I want so badly to remember every little thing. I’ve started a habit of sending myself an email when a memory comes to mind—I have to write it down for fear I won’t remember it again. My poor little baby girl, missing out on so very much. So very cheated. As are we all.
I mentioned a while ago that within a few days after Hudson died, Ed and I started making a list of all of the words she could say. We kept going back to it every time we remembered another one.
I am devastated beyond belief that we have only one video of her saying a single word—“No!” It is also the last, and in some ways, the best, video we ever took of her. It was taken on May 2, 11 days before she died. I'm so grateful we managed to at least get this one one tape. It was by far her best party trick.
Sadly, I think “No” is probably also the last word I ever heard her utter, in response to repeated requests, even in the ER, for her to try to drink something.
Why it never occurred to us to make videos of her saying all her words and making all her signs and animal noises, I have no idea. I guess we figured we had plenty of time to make memories of her when she was little. Certainly we never dreamed that we'd need them to remember her at all.
So instead of the videos I desperately wish I had, here is a list of Hudson’s words (with her pronunciation in parentheses), signs, and animal noises in no particular order. It’s still not exhaustive—every once in a while, Ed and I still think of words we forgot to add. And I could never even count the number of words she knew but still could not say.
Please (mease, complete with a rub of her heart for the sign)
Mouth (mow, like cow)
Eyebrow (eye-bow, like cow)
Up (with hands over head)
Down (with hands pointed down to the floor)
Open (with hands wide like doors on the bus opening)
Close (kose—with hands together like doors on the bus closing)
Up above the (uppa-bub-ba, like in “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” with hands opening and closing like a twinkling star, and pointer fingers together like a roof for “like a diamond in the sky”)
Sneeze (sees, complete with a fake “achoo!”)
Rock (and its corollary, rocky-rock, often said while sitting in the rocking chair)
Belly button (bell bah)
Hudson (ud-son, pointing to herself)
Row, row, row (complete with motions of rowing oars toward her chest)
Uh-oh (her first word)
Amen (they always said grace before lunch at St. Ann’s—imagine my surprise when I heard her say this one)
Dook! No! (ahem… see video above)
Butt paste (buh pay; her first string of two syllables together, said at around 10 months or so—she can thank her dad for that)
Mole (like the one on Mommy’s neck that she was always fascinated with)
Flower (fow, like cow)
Chicken: high-pitched “bock bock”
Elephant: high pitched squeal with forearm up to her forehead, fingers pointing out, like a trunk (she learned this one from her friend Sophia, who lives in San Diego now)
Duck: “kak-kak,” with her hands tucked up under her arm pits and flapping like duck wings
Cat: mow (rhymes with cow)
Dog: oof (she never quite caught on to the “w” at the beginning)
Rooster: high-pitched “oo-oooooooooo”
Lion: “RAWR!” (her first and best animal noise)
Pig: a little snort (followed immediately by a giggle)
Owl: “hoo hoo”
Please: she rubs her hand straight across her chest
Thank you: she puts her hand on her chest then extends it toward you
More: the classic sign—she touches both pointer fingers and thumbs together
Done: she waves her hands face-down toward the table, one over the other, like she’s wiping off a mess (or making one)
All gone: she waves her hands in the air, like they were empty
Wash hands: she wipes her hands together, like wiping them on a washcloth
Eat/hungry: she puts her hand to her mouth, with fingers and thumbs together like she’s holding a piece of food
Milk: the classic sign—she opens and closes her fist (yes, like milking a cow—nice, huh? Especially for us breastfeeding mamas)
And my favorite sign, the one I wish more than anything I could see again:
I love you: She points to her eye, then crosses her hands over her chest, then points at me.