Engage

It’s alternately fun and confusing having a newly-talking kid.

Stinkerbelle has gotten over the hump on speaking — she was struggling there for awhile, and then the floodgates opened. In a matter of months, she’s using more words than we even knew that SHE knew, she’s forming sentences of many words, and she’s expressing herself and engaging with everyone as often as she can.

She’s always been a social kid. When we first met her, a five-month-old baby, at the TH, we asked her caregivers if they did anything special when she fussed or cried or needed comfort. We were expecting some gentle words, or maybe a song, or a way to hold her. What we DIDN’T expect was for her caregiver to say, “Oh, we just put her down next to some other kids, and she cheers right up.”

But after 2 1/2 years, we know: IT’S TOTALLY TRUE. Girlfriend LOVES her peeps. So the language barriers coming crashing to the ground are in large part due to being around others.

Where once she listened to conversations and was spoken to, now she wants nothing more to than to ENGAGE! So, randomly throughout the days, she’s trying conversation out, hollering “HULLOOOOO!” and “HI! HULLO! HI! HI!” and “GOOD MORMING!” to whoever, and sometimes whatever, strikes her fancy. She doesn’t quite GET that “hello” is just an opening conversational gambit as yet, so she just throws it out there whenever she wants someone to engage with her. People she knows. Strangers in stores. Friends. Toys. Inanimate objects that are new to her. Doesn’t matter. It’s all conversation to her. She’ll just barge into the middle of an existing conversation and bellow “HELLO!” if the mood strikes her. That’s just how she rolls.

And she’s delighted, and sometimes suddenly shy, when someone responds.

She’s also all about expressing her will, too. You can hear her holler at her little friend Libby at her gym class: “Bibby! Come on! Let’s go!” as she tries to play with Libby. She’s forever telling Duncan to “Get down!” from wherever he is. Or she will grab a finger and lead you to what she wants and command “Sit too!” She is delightfully bossy.

Rest assured, however, that she is a benevolent dictator, and if you have complied with her wishes, she’ll come up and pat your hair and say “Oooooh, NIIIIIiiiicccceee.” Or maybe even “pretty hair”. So, that’s nice.

But the most recent, and most dreaded, conversational option for That Baby is NO. She will say no randomly, to show she CAN. Like when I ask her if she wants to go to gym or swimming, something you KNOW she LOVES, she will say no, just because she can. Being contrary is all part of the fun. Most of the time it is random, and you can tell by her tone she is just trying No on for size.

But you know she is serious when her voice drops a couple octaves, right from her diaphragm, and she BELLOWS an agonized and fearful “NOOOOOOOOOO”. Like when Santa called her name, for example. “NOOOOOOO SAAAAANNNNTAAAAAA”. Or, even more recently, when we try to get her to use the potty. “NO POTTY. NO POTTY TIME.”

So, that’s a “no” then. Okay.

(Everything these days is a “time”. Potty time. Snack time. Bath time. Boots time. Bubbles time. Everything has a time.)

And she’s into questions. Sometime after she’s been put to bed, and she’s faffing and futzing about in her bed, over the monitor we’ll hear “Wha happied?” and we know something is wrong in her world. “What happened” is the catchphrase of the week, to let us know that something is Not Right In Her World. Took her shoes off? She’ll come to you holding them saying “Wha happied?” Dropped or spilled something? “Wha happied? Wha happied?” repeated ad infinitum until you do something about her problem.

Although it’s not always easy to understand what she’s saying. Her kitty Duncan is “Gungkum”. “See you later” is “Seeeeyayee”. But, as we’re leaving in the morning and she says “Goobye Gungkum! Seeeeyayee!” you can pretty much translate.

And don’t even get me started on the singing. OH, the SINGING. It is tuneless and phonetic and full of breathy pauses and burps and marching and emphatic gesturing and I love it. I. ABSOLUTELY. LOVE. IT.

I love it. I love it all. I have been waiting for this phase, when we could communicate. And with her delays, we waited a little longer than I anticipated, which was worrysome, and I will admit, a tiny bit disappointing. But the delay always passes, and when the real talking starts, this early fun phase of exploration and development and fun passes so quickly.

I wish I could record every day, everything she says, to remember forever. Her sweet baby voice, her funny conversation, even the bellowing NO. It’s all so dear, and it goes by so fast. I will miss it terribly when she moves from this stage.

8 thoughts on “Engage

  1. Oh, this made me LOL! I can just hear her speaking. What a relief for you and BDH. And what a delight!

    “Wha happied?” – too cute!

  2. So cute.

    I am loathe to correct our three year old’s wrongly pronounced words (a triangle is a “twi-angoo-lar” – not sure why, and no, “you don’t take things ABOUT asking”).

    Conversations with toddlers are just the most entertaining events ever! Enjoy!

  3. And then they start saying things in stores like “don’t hit me mommy”- when at the most she has only had her grabby little hand gently tapped as she decided to reach out and pull a handful of chocolate bars into the grocery cart. So definitely savor this sweet and chatty phase! šŸ™‚

  4. I have one word for you: videotape, videotape, videotape. You will be amazed how fast those fun little sayings disappear… and sad when you realize they are gone.

    Also I think I will name my next cat Gungkum.

  5. Heh – what a great post! I just love toddler-speak, it’s so much more entertaining than adult-speak. When my niece, who is also a toddler, goes out of her way to say “Bwess you!” everytime someone sneezes? I melt.

  6. Toddler speak. Amazing stuff. I realized with GREAT sadness that B. man can now articulate the L sound. That changes so many words from cuteness to adult. Like ‘please’.

    Sigh…yes, video, video, video. Then you can watch them when you are old and get all sentimental and maudlin. I already do that over video’s of my 7 year old when he was a baby.

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