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.

5 responses to “Wajee”

  1. Granny

    And she did say “Granny!” You heard her…clear as a bell…several times. Woo Hoo!!! Violet rocks and Granny is in hog heaven!

  2. Kristen

    I am dying to see Wajee (aka Violet!) again … a trip to Austin is a MUST! You’ve got me a bit panicked. Our nearly 14 month old Drew can only say “dada” “mama” and occassional “sie” for . Random attempts at words have been uttered, but not consistantly. Ut oh. His favorite expression as of late is, ” wetha, wetha, baaa, baaa.” And we have yet to decifer the meaning of this. Any ideas?

  3. Eric

    Damn straight: don’t let the pediatrician get you down. Even if she can’t see it, you HAVE been encouraging your daughter to talk, only you did it using means that were available to her well in advance of most kids. Heck, according to our pediatrician, a speaking vocabulary of three or more words is fine for an 18-month-old. That’s about where our daughter was at that age, with five spoken words, but a couple hundred signs. She’s closing in on three now, and her speech is just fine. It’s actually a bit advanced compared to most of her peers, in fact. She only signs rarely these days, but still understands signing quite well.

    So yeah, she may speak a little later than most, but she’s communicated well before most, so I’d say you and she have come out pretty far ahead.

  4. Dad aka Apa

    Don’t worry about the pediatrician. Cap’n Billy was worred that Carson was going to go to kindergarten without any verbal skills but great at sign language. (Actually, can you imagine how quiet classrooms would be? Hmmm.) Anyway, Carson went from almost no words to full sentences almost overnight at about three (I’ll have to ask but he was very late). Seems he was silently practicing until he knew he could do it right. That’s the theory and Cap’n Bill’s sticking to it.

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