Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Word of the Day is “Diaper”

My son’s gotten to be a professional walker now, and even tries the running thing sometimes. He’s getting better at that too, but still takes some spills. Now that the locomotion deal is good, he’s started really crackin’ on the language bit. We’ve heard a few random things here and there, and we’ve definitely heard some things that sound like something but we’re not quite sure what “that” is.

The first thing we heard was “oww” (owl) and then “bihr” (bird). It was 2 a.m. and we were up taking an underarm temperature because someone was screaming bloody murder. We sat on the couch and he pointed to the owl statue on the bar. “Owl,” I told him sleepily as I wrestled him to keep the thermometer under his arm. “Oww,” he repeated. “Yes, owl. Owl’s are birds,” I added. “Bihr,” he repeated. Sure, great, words, now go back to bed. Come to find out he had an ear infection (f.y.i., for anyone who hasn’t seen a baby ear infection, waking up in the middle of the night screaming when they usually sleep through the night is a sign of ear infection).

Next came “Ja Ja.” Jasmine is our small Chihuahua. He’ll chase her around the house grinning and yelling, “Ja Ja!” We of course say Mama and Dada, and we’ve heard “buh” (book) and “baah” (ball). One day I frustratingly told him, “No, that’s mine” when he reached for the remote (he was going to push buttons and I really wanted to watch the rest of NCIS). He paused, looked at me intently, and repeated “mine.”

Today? “Dipe” as he reached for a diaper on the top of the cloth diaper pile. “What color is that?” I asked about the one he had grabbed. “Boo!” (blue). And he was right, it was blue. My child amazes me to no end. You know, you talk a mile to this child that you’ve been toting around for months and you wonder, “Really? Are you hearing any of this? Does it matter to you that I pretty much have diarrhea of the mouth talking to you about everything around us and what we’re doing?” We label things, we look at books (which he closes on me), we point and talk about things, we talk about what we’re eating, and what the dogs are doing, and…some days I’m just tired of talking to this little boy who doesn’t talk back. But now he’s starting to talk back.

Right now we’re working on “more.” Knowing this word would make life so much easier. “Do you want more fish?” (Goldfish crackers) – I would love an accurate answer to this question, rather than giving him more and watching him turn them into crumbs because he’s “all done.” Yesterday he was in his seat and I was putting away dishes a few feet away. He was staring intently at me with an empty tray. “Do you want more?” I asked. The brow furrowed. “More?” I repeated more slowly. The lips moved in an almost “M” motion. “More?” I asked even more slowly. “MO! MO!” Close enough kiddo, have some more fish. We’ve also been working on “please” which comes out as “eeeeese!” with a huge grin. I love please.

Sometimes I wish that we had tried out the whole baby sign thing. My suggestion for anyone with a new little one is check out baby signs that would be useful and work with your kiddo at least 30 minutes a day to practice the hand motions and the meanings of the words. Keep in mind that as their vision gets better, they start watching your lips and imitating your sounds. This is when you need to start watching your language, not later. It’s a good idea to clean up your language even before they start watching you, but truly unless you want your kid’s first word to be a cuss word you have to watch your mouth. Most of the time they imitate the last word of whatever you just said, so keep that in mind too. They’re already learning where the end of sentences are even at 6 months. Kind of crazy.

This brings us back to the idea of intentional parenting. Your child is going to imitate your facial movements and emotional reactions to stimuli. They’re going to imitate your language and how and when you use it. Look in the mirror as you’re talking – is that what you want to see from your kids? If so, kudos to you and go be a great parent. If not, think about it. Your kiddo is the combination of you and your partner (if you have one). How’s that going to work out in the long run if you don’t think about it now?