Tuesday, February 9, 2010

New Sounds and Obscenities

Remember that scene in Meet the Faulkers when the little guy learns his first word from Adam Sandler? The parents come home quite dismayed to find out that their little tyke could now say "As-hoooooooole" better than any other word in the English language. Well, I thought we might have a repeat performance tonight when Geoff got home (though Geoff would surely laugh and share in the delight at her ability to speak ANY new word!). Today, my friend, Greg, and I were on a hike in Forest Park. We were talking about this and that, hiking up the hill from the St.John's bridge--Kaya was on my back in the Ergo. Greg was feeling strongly about something, and shouted out "Fu--" pretty loudly. Within seconds, Kaya similarly proclaimed, "fah!" It was quite the reminder to me that not only is she really listening to us, but she's working really hard to be able to copy what we say. The time has come to "watch our language"! =)

In general, I see great strides in the language process. I realized about half way through yesterday that Kaya was "talking" a ton! It seemed that her babbles were constant, almost like she was narrating everything she was doing. SO cute. Today, it continued like that, to a greater degree, in fact. I love it! It's like she's moving her mouth around in new ways, experimenting that much more with how it works.

The practice seems to be paying off...she's getting much better at forming the words that she hears and seems to want to express. Tonight, as we were reading a bedtime story, she was pointing at all the animals on the page: the cat, the duck, the mouse. When I said "mouse", she said "mau", which is definitely a new sound for her (au). For the past week, she's also been saying "duhh" for "duck"--a very close sound to "dah" which she says for a lot of things, including "dog", "da" (here/there), and the beginnings of "dada". Yesterday, while we were about to sit down with her for dinner, she said a very definitive "dah". "Dah" was?!, I asked her. "Da-da", she said, with affirmation. =) Maybe that counts as her first 'knock-knock' joke?

Kaya has also mastered the word "Nanah", which couldn't make my mom any happier! Today, in fact, as Kaya was sitting with her toys, playing by herself in the family room, my mom told me, "I don't have the words to express how happy I am right now." When we get to my mom's house, Kaya says "Nanah". She says it sometimes when she sees my mom, too, and when I tell her that we're going to visit her. Most often, she'll say it after I say it...regardless of when she hears it, it makes my mom smile every time, and she's glad that she 'got first pick' at the "grandma" alternatives. Kaya likes to point out the "lai" to my mom, which is what was happening here. My mom had turned the lamp on, and Kaya said "lai" when it came on.

And as far as her baby sign goes, she's learned the sign for "dog", and now pats her leg now and again when she hears me say either "Hund" or "dog". =) She loves to point at them, too, and let me know that she sees them. When she hears them bark, or their tags rattle, she will also say "dah". We can tell when she means 'dog' because she says it with a bit more emphasis than her other "dah"s. She's using the sign for "more" a bit less now, though she will often combine it with her use of the word "mehr". She also does this sign where she moves her right, open hand up and down, palm down. She usually does it while she's in her high chair. That must be her secret sign--I have yet to figure that one out. I appreciate the challenge, though!

On a different note (an input vs. output one), I was at my mom's today with Kaya, playing with her and her basket of toys. In the bottom of the basket were a bunch of wooden animals: cows, horses, chickens, and pigs (2 of each). I asked Kaya where the cow was, and within 5 seconds, she reached passed all the other animals and grabbed the COW! One might think that by now, I'd expect her to easily identify all the words I ask her, and that I'd stop being impressed with her ability to simply recognize and follow a direction. However, it's not consistent, so when it happens, it makes it clear to me that there are words that she knows, and ones that she doesn't (also, to be expected): when I asked her after that to identify the pig, for example, she paused, and then picked up the chicken (we haven't talked about pigs as much as we've talked about cows).

Well, that's all I can think of for tonight!
Thanks for sharing in my joy!


  1. Tamara, I'm SO glad I found your blog online! It came in a time I was questioning whether I was doing or not the right thing to my little Sophie!
    I'm from Brazil and have always loved learning and speaking languages (I speak English, Spanish, French and a bit of Italian) and I wanted my children (if I have a second one) to have English as a mother tongue. She's ging to have Spanish too because my husband is Argentinean and speaks Spanish to her most (????) of the time.
    Actually, my level of English is not as good as your German AT ALL. I have an undefined accent and the proficiency I once had was lost through the years without practice...
    Anyway, I've been hearing lots of things of lots of people warning me that speaking only English to her was not only not useful, but also could delay her language learning process.
    I'm glad I found Dr. Saunders (whose book I still have to read) and you!
    I just want to thank you for your generosity and patience in writing down all of this and share your experience with others.
    I have much more to say, though I believe it's ok for now. I've started from your last post and I'm looking forward you get to the newest ones.
    Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

    1. Dear Lygia,

      Seeing your comment here lit up my day the first time I read it, and gives me goosebumps now, the 3rd time I read it. Thank you SO much. YOU, and people like you who comment and let me know that my sharing makes a difference, are the reason that I not only keep up with this blog, but part of the reason I set out on this endeavor in the first place. I couldn't be happier to know that my experience (which was similarly supported by other bloggers that I found when I was struggling!) is making a difference for you. It's shocking to me to hear that people think that English, of ALL the languages for you to gift to your daughter, won't make a difference for her. Amazing to me. I'm SO glad that you've found solace for the path that you really want to take for Sophie. That's so awesome. I coudn't be happier to know that you are going strong (at least for now!). YAY!
      I hope you'll continue to share your thoughts, concerns, and struggles with me and us...maybe a blog is your future, too?!
      Thanks again,

  2. Just for the record: I decided to follow your path and started to day to describe my (our) day to Sophie. I had this great feeling of making her profit so much more from our "conversations"...
    Thanks again!

    1. Yay!! I LOVE this, thanks! It does change your whole perspective, huh, when you have more of a "purpose" and a "mission"?


I LOVE reading your comments, they make such a difference! Thanks for sharing!