From Words to Talking

W is slowly making the transition from merely saying words to talking. Not that he's using more than one word at a time or anything, but he's using his words to communicate rather than just to identify something.

For instance, his first word (which interestingly, he doesn't really say much anymore) was "cat". And he'd say "cat" when he saw or heard a cat. He still identifies things that he sees. But now he also uses words to tell us about things he wants to see.

Most often this is expressed as "dada" when he's with me, or "mama" when he is with T. And usually when whoever he is currently with is making him do something he doesn't want to do, or is prohibiting from doing something he does want to do. If W is not getting exactly what he wants, his first instinct is to call out for a second opinion (it doesn't work!).

He's also signing a lot more than before. He's getting better about nodding his head for "yes" (although he still does that rabbit-sniffing thing more often than nodding) and can actually say "no" (although it sounds like "nuuuu"). So when we ask him what he wants for breakfast, we can run down the list of options until we get to "yes" (although to W's credit, he's usually happy with the first or second thing I suggest, it's not like he's overly picky). If W is in the mood for chicken, he will tuck his hands in his armpits and flap like a chicken. He also signs directly for milk, apple, and banana. I don't think he has words or signs for anything else, but he'll recognize when it's mentioned so he can agree or disagree to eat it before I pull it out.

He has a lot of signs for cars and trucks. He moves his hands like he's driving, he moves his hands in a circle to indicate wheels, he does the swish-swish motion of the windshield wipers. Whenever he sees a blinking light he'll blink his eyes in an exaggerated way. He signs for rain, and bug.

The sign for bug is pretty helpful since there have been a lot of stink bugs around lately, and he'll point and sign so (mostly T) can go over and get rid of them.

W also has signs relating to balls. He signs for both dribble and throw, and has different styles of throw to indicate baseball or football. Although maybe his signs aren't really all that different, but I'm his mother and either I notice the subtleties or have more context to know to which he's referring.

He also signs for playing guitar, playing piano, playing drums, and dancing. And his favorite song to sing into the microphone is no longer "ga ga ga" but "da da da". Which of course T just loves.

W has foam letters in the tub, and T goes over phonetics with him every night, so W gets practice both making different sounds but also associating them with letters.

So although it has seemed like a long time in coming, it looks like W is right on target to be speaking in a comprehensible way by the time he is two in a few months. I suspect what he's doing now fulfills the terms of the developmental milestone for speaking, but I'm not exactly sure since I don't really keep up with that sort of thing. There aren't any other kids we see regularly W's exact age, so I don't talk to anyone who keeps good tabs on that, either. After reading so many baby neurology books I appreciate that kids' brains can develop skills in varying orders and varying timeframes and what path they choose matters little to the end result. So all these "milestones" are legitimate that you expect them to occur at some point, but the timing of them is pretty arbitrary and meaningless, except as they relate to averages over large populations.