Monday, September 5, 2011

Words keep a-comin' all day long

I have a talking kid.

I also have a potty-trained kid, at least mostly, but I'm not going to discuss his private doings all over the internet.

So, I have a talking kid.

This is a hugely welcome development. My husband and I are both extremely verbal communicators, and it's not easy having a nonverbal person in the household. Especially when we are in charge of meeting that person's every need. It's like having another cat - but worse, because cats lick themselves and use their own litter boxes (ideally) and you can rest assured they're not intelligent enough to be dwelling on their experiences of pain and trauma.

Children, however, start dwelling on pain and trauma at some point in their lives, and even though I don't expect my son to be an open book all the time, it bothers me to think that he can't express ANY thought that he has. Not even "I want milk."

For a long time, the 'language explosions' were tiny. As far as I was concerned, five new words in a single day was a language explosion. Ten words in a week was, too. I didn't know what people were talking about when they said children's language acquisition was amazing. It's not amazing! It's excruciating.

Until now. Now we are in a bona fide language explosion. Pronouns! Still used incorrectly some of the time, but there are more of them.

Here's a funny development: when Cloud momentarily forgets which of us is 'I" and which is 'you" he asks for "own." As in, "Own muffin... please!" when he doesn't want to share my muffin. "Own spoon" when he wants to use his baby spoon instead of a regular teaspoon. It gets the point across in an innovative way, and i don't correct his pronoun usage as much.

Verbs! He now has the phrase "I want" and uses it copiously. He can 'walk' 'ride' 'dim' (swim) and 'deep' (sleep). He likes to go 'dogging' (jogging).

He answers questions. And not just randomly - he actually listens to and understands the questions and then answers them with actual intent. This is huge.

He has learned the skill of diversion - changing the subject if he doesn't want to go along with what I'm telling him, or asking for something else if I tell him he can't have one thing.

He has learned to nag and whine. Someday I will count how many times in a row he can ask for a snack. It's a lot. He also barely pauses for breath in between inquiries. (He and Riley the cat have that trait in common.)

(In fact, I have accidentally called him Riley a few times now.)

I have begun, occasionally, to tell him to shut up and/or stop whining. I try not to say those things very often. How often is not very often? 20% of the time? 5%? 5% still has me shushing him at least once a day.

He has begun repeating phrases after hearing them only once. He's especially good at this if the phrase contains words he already knows. For instance, I doubt he'll say 'brachiosaurus' again without prodding, but he could say "going to flea market" again soon.

I guess this means it's prime time to start him on Mandarin.

(I've been a little complacent about the whole Mandarin thing. I've been working at it a little... a very very little... but I have some ideas I could pursue.)

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