Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Bursting into Language

While the big girl (5) is beginning--just beginning--to grasp reading, the little one (20 months) is bursting into speech. It’s amazing and hilarious to watch and to learn a little bit about memory and priorities from the words that come and those that she doesn’t need.

Our urban toddler who loves t.v. and singing cannot distinguish her farm animals from each other, but the tiniest little Dora or Diego gets a big shout out. She labored with the latter yesterday, looking at a little candy cane in the treat box: “Go. Eggo. DEE-eggo.”

But best of all was Christmas Eve. This little one is mostly still shouting one word at a time. Up until Christmas, the only sentence in regular rotation was “Ah wah gee dow” (I want get down): the urgent necessity every morning when trapped in the crib. So, imagine our surprise on Christmas Eve. The four of us were having hor d’oeuvres: champagne, cheese, and crackers for the grown-ups and milk and Pirate’s booty (the amazingly addictive natural cheeto-substitute) for the kids. Daddy reached in for a handful of booty and, plain as day, we heard: “Daddy, don’t do dat Daddy.”

And with that, she was off.

“Don’t do dat,” it turns out, is very useful. (And nicely alliterative which helps when consonants are still a challenge.) Upon seeing her sister sled downhill on a golf course in Utica a few days later, she came up with a great corollary:

“I wah do dat!”


genevieve said...

Oh, Word Power. What a great time. It is amazing how quickly they take off, isn't it. Some kids can be very quiet even in early 2's and then bang, complete sentences. Given all the things that can go wrong, it is amazing that language develops at all - I know that sounds awfully negative, but I mean it in the best possible sense. It's a complete miracle.

Unknown said...

Genevieve--I agree. Babies start out so unpromsingly. Every little step seems tremendous and like the most they could do and then, suddenly, there's a new step and then, all of a sudden, there are four voices at the dinner table, talking away.

True one is mostly saying "Bah-bah" and "Go Diego go," but, still, it's a new voice...

And yes, we do feel super-blessed to have things perking along in non-worrying ways.