I just LOVE the bit when babies are learning to talk. With both of my two, it’s started slowly with mama, dadda and bear (they are both addicted to their Flatout Bears made from Aussie sheepskin – gorgeous, if the most expensive comfort object ever!). Then they moved in fits and starts through their own attempts at everyday stuff like ‘Chacha’ (our cat, Charlie), bowl, spoon, cup, juice, ball, car, and the ubiquitous Organix ‘bar’. During the learning to talk stage, every time they spent a weekend with lots of adults, their vocab went through the roof, from about 16 months onwards. I loved it first time round, and I am loving it again now.
Now DD is heading for her fourth birthday this summer, I take it completely for granted that she can chunter away nonstop about anything under the sun and is learning more stuff all the time. I can’t really remember a time when she was as little as DS, now nearly 20 months, and was just learning her first words. When I was pregnant with him, two years ago, I started writing a little memo of all the stuff she was doing and saying, including some of her favourite and most interesting words at the time. I’m so pleased I did this, because it’s gone so quickly. Most memorably, her coat was a ‘toot’, your hair clips were ‘pips’, and she started picking up phrases like ‘as well’, ‘back in a minute’ and ‘really is hot’. Perfume was ‘mell-nice’ because it made mummy smell nice, and piano was ya-yo, and breakfast was ‘fuff-fuff’.
Both my children have been really into learning the names for things and trying them out, desperate to make themselves understood. As a wordy sort of girl myself, this is a total joy to me, and it also makes life so much easier. Yesterday, for example, I didn’t realise that DS needed his nappy changing and had a sore botty until he clutched his crotch with a distressed look and said ‘poo poo dore, mummy! Up!). Like his sister at the same age, he’s trying to string the few words he knows together to make sense of things and tell me things.
He doesn’t know ‘lots’ or ‘other’ yet, but he can say ‘more’, so when he wants both his bears he says, ‘bear, more bear’. He doesn’t know ‘flying’ yet, but when he sees a plane overhead he says ‘airpane!’ and then a few second later, ‘gone!’. He can’t say blackcurrant squash, but he does know that I’ll happily make him a weak warm high juice drink, which is ‘hot juice’. He can’t say biscuit, but can say ‘caca’ and knows a biscuit is similar to a cracker. He also uses the syllables he can say and remember of more complicated words, combined with pointing – ‘eeee’ at bathtime means he wants to brush his teeth, and ‘ek’ is breakfast. The latest obsession is hot air balloons since we saw one last week – now know to one and all as an ‘airbuddun’.
Some of their words are so cute, I don’t correct them – hair clips are still ‘pips’ to the entire extended family. So tell me, what are the cutest things your kids came up with when they were learning to talk, and what words do you still use in their original uncorrected form?