Some of you will know having read Diary of An Accidental Mother that just over a year ago I gave birth to a son and have since been deep in maternal purdah. The following piece is part of an adhoc series entitled Bear Adventures, as told by the Milk Lady.
In the beginning was the word and word was Agh.
As with everything in the Bear's life, it happened almost imperceptibly. Mornings would begin with Bear Song, a definitive 'Agh', the opening of big brown eyes and a milk tooth smile.
Agh was then repeated at varying pitches in various tones throughout the day. It was used as a form of recognition, as a question, a response to a question, a demand, suggestion and statement. It was a one syllable language; whole, complete and easily understood.
Until that is, the morning came when Agh was supplanted.
Before that time occurred, Bear would talk to his grandmother. They spoke on a daily basis. Bear's Grandmother had had a stroke. She liked to say, 'A stroke is no joke'. It was her mantra; the experience had taken her puff away. She had given up her day job to concentrate on collecting ailments. 'Agh,' she would sigh about her aches and pains. 'Agh,' replied Bear. 'Agh,' she would groan about the ways in which life short changed her. 'Agh,' he echoed by which time the phone would be in his mouth, dribble wetting the handset the click of his new teeth against the glass front.
One day whilst attending to a small pile of bills in the sitting room my concentration was shattered by a string of familiar 'Aghs'. I knew those 'Aghs'. They belonged to the Bear. Bear had returned from a buggy stroll in the park with his father and on the approach to our home he made his feelings audible. He recognised it, this place where he lived. 'Agh,' shouted Bear excitedly 'Agh, agh , agh'.
Then something extraordinary happened, Bear began pulling himself forward by his two bent elbows, military style as if under a net in the dark of night on some dangerous mission. From that point onward Bear was on the move.
Tooth count was four with three pending.
It was round about this time, it occurred, 'Agh' accquired a consonant 'B', which then muted into B-Agh.
'Bah,' said Bear.
This was progress