I was a little ticked off at our pediatrician a couple months ago during the year-and-a-half well-check. She asked how Violet’s verbal skills are progressing and I told her she has about a 50-60 word vocabulary. This seemed to impress her until I mentioned that those words were all signs. Her spoken vocabulary at that time was probably less than 20. The doctor dismissed what I think is a pretty impressive ability for an 18-month-old to express herself and told me to “encourage her to talk“.
Well, I’m certainly not going to get all freaked out about it. Clearly this woman is somewhat ill informed… but she’s a pediatrician, not a linguist. Still, I have noticed that most kids Violet’s age do speak more than she does. Thing is, they all get their ideas across. And Violet was able to do this very well starting around 12 months. I think that has helped immensely, especially with Violet’s… um… temperament. Some of her most frustrating moments are when she can’t communicate. She seems so relieved when she learns how to sign about something. So, a tad late in talking seems quite worth it to me.
But in addition to her uncanny musical ability, she is learning to talk. And let me just say, a cuter thing cannot be fathomed. I love it when we pull into the driveway and she gleefully shouts “home!”; then she asks, “Dada home?” Except tonight she just started saying “Daddy”. I think I’m going to pass out from sheer joy when she says “Mommy”. So far her attempts are something like “Mowmy” and she resorts to “Mama” again. That’s fine. Mama is cool. But I have discovered I am a “Mommy” at heart. Go figure. Meanwhile, my mom is positively foaming at the mouth for Violet’s first attempt at “Granny”.
Violet likes to go for a “wah” (walk) and pick up “wra” (rocks) and stand against the “wa” (wall) while she asks “wehw waw?” (where’s the water?). Yes, they all sound the same to an un-mommy-trained ear. Which is another reason I think the signing is helpful. She often uses signs in conjunction with the spoken words she is working on, so it’s much clearer to us what she’s trying to say. Thus, less frustration, thus, less screaming and crying. Yay!
Other new-ish things she’s saying: “baaaaybeh” (baby, kind of sounds like a construction worker’s cat-call”), “ba” (bath), “weh” (wet), “dih down” (sit down), “ih up” (get up), “an up” (stand up), “hel” (help), and “Wajee” (Violet). We can’t quite figure out if this is just her preliminary attempt at her name or if she wants to be called Wajee.
Eh… whatever works.