Sunday, October 14

It's Not You, It's Her

Lately I've had a few comments from friends, on the blog, and via email saying something to the effect of "Alexis talks so much more than my son/daughter!" I want to make sure one thing is absolutely clear: It's Alexis that is abnormal, not your child. If you need a little reassuring (or just want to know what is "normal"), try this site or this site.

According to all the charts I've seen and our Pediatrician, Alexis currently fits in with the average 24 to 30 month-old when it comes to speech (she's 20 months). She knows a few hundred words, uses names, and frequently puts together two to four word sentences. A stranger would probably understand her 70% of the time.

Because I know you're curious, I attribute her weirdness to three things:

1. Sign Language. We started teaching her sign language at 6 months. Mostly we taught her by watching Signing Time with her. There have been studies that have shown that teaching signs encourages communication, but I don't need the studies to know that it clearly had an impact in our house. For one thing, the fact that we are teaching her to sign means that I am forever asking her "What's that?" or "How do you sign (word)?" That's actually how I manage to make it through a store with her. I distract her into telling me the name of everything that she sees. I wouldn't have thought to do that if it weren't for the focus on words that learning sign language encourages. The other benefit we've seen from signing is that it helps us to understand words that sound like gibberish. For example, she probably said 'cracker' twenty times before she first signed it, but I didn't understand her. Once she added the sign, I could ask her if she was saying cracker, and she could confirm. Repeating the word back to her lets me confirm that I understood and gives her a chance to hear it pronounced correctly. It only takes a few times for her enunciation to improve. Then I don't need the sign to understand her anymore.

2. She's bossy. Really bossy. The girl fully intends to control the universe when she grows up. She already tells other kids what to do and has been known to lead them around the playground, telling them when to sit or slide or stop. Wanting to be able to tell other people what to do is a pretty good incentive when it comes learning to speak.

3. She arrived in this world programmed to talk early, just like she came programmed to get teeth early (teeth at four months made breastfeeding GREAT fun, let me tell you), crawl late, hate baby food, and walk late. To loosely quote a line from a Signing Time song, Alexis will do what Alexis will do when Alexis is ready to do it.

My favorite thing that she's been saying lately is "Hi, I'm Crackers!" (She got it from the Intro to Signing Time which starts with "Hi, I'm Rachel.") If you are what you eat, then she needs to modify it to "Hi, I'm Crackers and Waffle!" And if I were to introduce myself the same way, it would be "Hi, I'm chocolate!" What about you?

No comments:

Post a Comment