Way back in about October I started noting down new words, for another linguistic post. I’m doing this because I am finding that my memory is already hazy about what development occurred when, so far in Master Z’s life. The way my memory is going, if he ever asks me as an adult something like, “When did I start walking?” or “When could I say the alphabet?”, my response is likely to be something along the lines of “Well, I know that you were able to walk to school, so clearly you were walking by 5 years old!” Okay, that may be an exaggeration – he is walking at playgroup, so obviously he started somewhere after he turned one but before he turned two – but I do want to record these little things which seem so big at this time but will fade away as new memories compete for space.
Clearly, I didn’t get to putting up the post in the time frame that I intended, and after about 6-8 weeks of jotting down new words, or words that I’d forgotten to jot down earlier, I realised that his acquisition of words was fast outstripping my ability to record it, and as such, this would be the last list. I last added a word on December 4th, and even now looking at the list it amazes me the number of additional words which are now in his vocabulary, and the number of words which are now pronounced correctly and have been for long enough that I had already forgotten his original pronunciation.
At the time of last recording on the list, he was just starting to make a few three word sentences which was so exciting. Now, he’s regularly coming up with four or five words sentences. He’s actively studying the use of simple prepositions (on, off, in, out), is applying the plural “s” for anything involving more than two (see yesterday’s post!), trying to understand “mine” and “yours” – which is really quite difficult to teach! – and is mastering more than one clause in a sentence, eg.“Mummy sit n table, Zac sit n high chair” and “Catch tram go city”
More and more we are hearing ourselves though him too. It is really quite strange, like holding a magnifying glass to your own habits that you don’t normally notice. We have realised that we both say “Okay”, a lot. We also make a point of encouraging and recognising behaviours in Zac that we want him to continue by saying “Good…..” or “Well done, that was great …..” So if he stops at a road, holds my hand, looks for cars and then crosses the road quickly, I’ll say something like “Good crossing, Z. You stopped and looked for cars, and you crossed quickly. Good crossing!”. Yes, I realise that my language is not grammatically perfect either, but that is part of the whole motherese/parentese theory which I am starting to see and understand more. Very similar concept to my experiences in teaching ESL to young children: slow down your speech, annunciate clearly, simplify the language and repeat, repeat, repeat. Anyway, Master Z has now taken to congratulating himself when we don’t, saying to himself, and us, “Good crossing” or “Good helping” or Good whatever”. It is awfully cute. We have also both heard him say “Crap!”, in an appropriate context which made me aware that I must say it more than I realised. Our current tactic with language or behaviour that we don’t want him to continue is to just ignore it, and since the first couple of times, I haven’t heard him say it again.
I am finding that having a child is proving to be the best incentive ever for cleaning up my own less-than-desirable habits! It’s like having a tiny, pure mirror following you around, reflecting whatever you do and say. When I see it in this pure mirror, I just want to erase it completely and have the mirror go back to its clean, clear, innocent state. The only way to do that of course, is to clean it out of me. I know that I won’t be able to control all the he is exposed to and all the influences in his life, but I can behave in the manner which I expect him to behave. I can and I should. Watching him grow up makes it so obvious to me just how much children learn through observing us, rather than through what we tell them.
The word list, as at Dec 4, 2012eating
swiip = sweep
uash – wash
snuggle cough broom
brush = toothbrush (he now says toothbrush)
com = comb (he now says comb)
shawa = shower
cadu = avocado
watu > wa-tere = water (he now says water)
nino = babycino (one of our favourites, we encourage this one! Now half the time he says nino, and half the time either babycino or cappucino)
egg (he now says scrambled egg)
bean = baked beans
ice chai soup
buerrs = berries coff = coffee
badu = banana (this is now bana) bowl
work car park
puram – pram fly
pig ban-day = bandaid poo
toy-et = toilet nice sore
me agen = again