No, I’m not talking about the nauseating “goo goo gaa gaa” of well-meaning but ultimately clueless adults who think that imitating baby sounds is going to amuse the baby. I’m talking about that great period when the baby is around two years old and just starting to have the vocal control and interest in imitating the words everyone else are using.
Parents know exactly what I mean, and there’s really no sweeter music than having your child run up to you excitedly and say “Daddy!” (or “Mommy!”) as if your walking in the door is the equivalent of them winning some fifty million dollar lottery jackpot!
Our daughter K- is 20 months old right now, and she’s deep in the thick of cute baby talk right now, to all of our great amusement. In fact, we’re moving into the second phase of baby talk: three months ago a baby was “deedee” and now, thanks to our older children correcting her, it’s “bay-bee”.
What’s really interesting to notice is that in addition to “Mommy” and “Daddy” (of course), K- also has her general purpose “mama-dada” word that works regardless of which parent she’s talking with. And she uses it with some frequency, like “mama-dada, dee! dee!” (which means ‘water’, we’ve figured out)
She’s also mastered “thank you” and that’s another chart buster in the cute department. I’ll give her a cookie and she’ll look soulfully up at me and say “thank you, Daddy” in the sweetest little voice.
Not to sound too geeky, but from an intellectual perspective, there’s really no more fascinating period in a child’s life than when they’re acquiring language. It’s a great chance to see what words are most important, what are easiest to say, and how surprisingly effective gestures and intonation can be when you can only use two or three phonemes to convey your message.
Oh, and funny faces are the rage too, with “meanie-baby” our favorite right now. K- juts out her jaw, showing just her lower teeth between her lips, frowns, and stomps around. Of course, it only lasts about 20 seconds until she collapses into a fit of giggles (muchly because the rest of us are laughing at how cute she is).
Enough blogging for now. I think I’ll go play…
There is absolutely nothing sweeter than a young child trying to communicate but let me tell you that the implication goes much deeper than just a few giggles and smiles. I am a mother of two beautiful girls and also a teacher of 27 years. That simple exchange of words goes on to last a lifetime. Just by letting them know you’ll always be there to listen and talk will come back to bless you as a parent a thousand times. Start them talking to you early and they’ll share with you forever!
My daughter is also 20 months and at about the same place. I absolutely roar with laughter when she points her little finger at our dog and scolds her to get off the furniture she says “Day-day!.. brimbal deta DOWN! DOWN! nigh NOW! Day-day NOW! There are plenty of lovey things and custey pootsies – but I am caught off guard every time she bosses Wednesday (our dogs name) around. It makes me laugh so hard to see the way I scold the dog reflected so seriously by my dear daughter. Poor Day-day.
I really agree with your statement ‘Oh, and funny faces are the rage too, with “meanie-baby” our favorite right now.’ Our 22 month old daughter and I would pull faces at each other – we would do ‘happy’, ‘sad’, ‘surprised’ and ‘stern’. It was always fun to do. It also made me think about how these little ‘games’ are still very educational in helping them understand how to interact with others and how to recognise how others may be feeling.
I have a two year old. She has really taken to singing. She is very intellegent and can remember a song after the first time, well sort of. She often will string a lot of songs together and make one “mix” song. It’s funny when she changes the words. The newest re-write is on Framer and the Dell. When she gets to the part that says “The Mother takes the child” she sings “The mahder takes the wipes, the Mahder takes the wipes, hi ho da hairy oh, the mahder takes the wipes”…..those are the moments that keep me laughing and make this whole parenting ride worth while.
wwaaaaaaah goo goo gaa gaa ma ma da da me need the potty now! waaaaaaaaaaah!
Actually – it is an important part of your babies speech development *to* repeat the sounds they make.