Maybelle talking

Kissing BoppaMaybelle's been talking for a long time, but we're seeing some cool shifts recently.

She's been saying full sentences for months.  In the fall, I think, Biffle recognized the extent to which Maybelle would ask for things using one word:  "Music!" "Yogurt!" "Bounce!"  So we started responding to the one-word requests with, "Use a full sentence, please."  Quickly she learned to respond, "I want music, please."  That formulation became what "full sentence" meant to her:  "I want _____, please."

So that counts as speaking in a full sentence, but it was fairly limited.  She'd learned the code and was repeating it.  What's happening lately is that she's putting words together in ways that aren't just memorized repetitions.  This isn't to say anything bad about memorized repetitions--they're part of how all of us speak.  Much of our daily communication consists of memorized phrases that we insert because this is where they usually go ("How's it going?" "Alright, how are you?").  Maybelle, in fact, has a lot of phrases like that.  When it comes to jumping or swinging, she'll say, "One more time!" quite competently.  But Maybelle's moving beyond that, which is exciting to see.

The other day she pointed to her left elbow.  "Elbow," she said.

"Yep," I responded.  "That's your elbow."

Then she pointed to her right elbow.  "Other elbow."

"That's right!"

"Two elbows!"

"Wow, yes, ma'am!"

We had a kind of conversation there.  It was really cool.  And I'd never talked to her in that way about her elbows--she wasn't repeating a routine we've been through.

We're seeing a similar phenomenon with the "first, then" formulation.  We do this all the time, and they do it at school, too:  if there's something we need her to do, we often offer her something fun after.  "First wash your hands, then we can snuggle."  She now understands this formulation and how it works, so she uses it for her own purposes.  She knows how much we want her to sit on the potty (another post about that will be coming soon), and she'll use this to get things she wants.  We'll ask her to sit on the potty, and she'll say things like, "First potty, then 'Up with People,'" or "First potty, then Big Red Chicken [what she calls Dora the Explorer]."

And she remembers the bargains we've made.  The other day Biffle was trying to get her to eat some eggs and toast.  She requested yogurt, but he said, "First eat some eggs and toast."  He was hoping to distract her so that she'd have a full meal of eggs and toast, but several minutes in, after she'd eaten bites of the food he was offering, she looked at him and said, "Now yogurt."  We were impressed (both at her memory and at her appropriate use of "now"), so she got her yogurt.

Update suggested by Biffle:
Maybelle's also developing a sense of humor.  When I'm biking around with her, she often touches my elbows and yells, "Go go elbow!"  I have no idea where she got that--I think she made it up.  It's pretty cute.

A more substantial example:   because we are responsible parents, we've taught Maybelle the word "fart."  And let's be honest, because she's related to Biffle, she's able to produce them.  The other day she let one fly, and then announced, "Fart!"  I laughed and agreed.  And then here came another one, and the announcement, "Fart!"  "Yep," I said, laughing harder.  Then paused a moment, looked at me and said, "One more time," and there it was:  the third and final one, with perfect timing.  Now that was seriously good comedy.


Veronica said...

haha...so cute. Isn't it amazing teaching a lil human to communicate? Funny how they figure out these patterns that we sometimes don't even recognize we're teaching.

Another Chance to Get It Right said...

I'm not entirely sure that "Making fart jokes" isn't in every standard child development chart.

Danielle G. said...

It was so nice running into you guys today. Maybelle's gotten so big, and I just love reading about how much and how quickly she's growing! Oh...and, "fart," yup...that's a big one in our house too. C'est la vie!

Alison said...

I'm glad to know that other parents are experiencing fart phenomena in their houses. And I'd love the kind of child development chart that included "making fart jokes"!

Christa aka The BabbyMama said...

The fart talk made me think about an exchange I had with my husband the other day...

Me: Why do you suppose P. thinks butts are so funny? Do you think she'll grow out of it? Do all kids think butts are funny?

Him: Love, she thinks butts are funny because you and I are always joking about butts.

Me: Riiiight.