Friday, January 08, 2010

Two to Four Words

I had heard in my child-development classes and from our pediatrician that in many ways language development was a series of "light switches turning on" rather than a gradual process.

Over New Year's weekend, Smiley demonstrated this difference as he went from using two-word phrases rarely to doing so routinely.

December 30th

He possibly said two new words this day: his name and dinosaur. We might have been imagining it, though.

He did chant for a long time while playing with mommy, "Me mommy, me mommy, me mommy,..." He still says things like this that omit and or with.

He also demonstrated a more developed sense of rhythm. We were playing a game about running from one end of the hallway to the other. I would start each dash by saying, "One, two, three, go!" After a few repetitions I was quiet and he tried to copy me, but it came out, "Two, two, two, do!" Replacing go with do is an old issue. He does not yet count and two is a favorite number, so I found it amusing that he caught on to the number of beats in my chant but replaced all the numbers with two.

Replacing numbers with other numbers is common, and also with colors. Perhaps because of his counting and color books he has a very good sense that number-words are a group that goes together, as are color-words. But he has no firm idea what each number-word or color-word means. (He does regularly use his favorite color, blue, simply to mean colored.)

December 31st

The next day he said a bunch of two-word phrases, for example "Daddy's shoe[s]" and "Go [to the] beach."

He also said his first three-word phrases. "There a[re] bubbles," was said in the morning about a washtub of soapy water. "There [is] our car," was said when seeing our car in the Torrey Pines Beach parking lot after a walk along the beach. Then, during the drive back to my wife's family's house, he twice said, "Naynee deh ho," which requires more explanation. His uncle Nathan has a tricky name that he says Naynee or Ninee. The words deh ho were an attempt at saying "at home". Smiley knew Uncle Nathan was at home and was looking forward to seeing him.

January 1st

The next day he said another three-word phrase: "Da Bubba haise." We were entering my grandmother's neighborhoood and he was telling us "The Bubba's house."

January 2nd

The next day he began talking about what was going to happen. He said "Swimsuit on" as we were getting ready to put on his swim diaper. Then he said the "Me mommy, me mommy,..." chant again but this time referring to the future: I'm going to be with Mommy.

January 6th

Smiley's first four-word phase happened on Friday. I had made myself hot tea, and offered Smiley either hot or cold tea to drink. He told me cold tea, and then began a new chant: "Hot tea, cold tea. Hot tea, cold tea." He meant Daddy's tea is hot, my tea is cold or perhaps Some tea is hot, some tea is cold.

No comments: