I'm really amazed by the way William constantly seems to be learning new words. It's like he gains at least one new word every day. I've heard this stage described as the "vocabulary explosion," and that's a very apt description.
Today at the zoo, he said a word that sounded like "meerkats." And he said it right by the meerkat exhibit, which he loves. And I wasn't imagining that he said "meerkats," either; a friend of mine was with us, and she said, "Wow, that sure sounded like 'meerkats' to me." It had to have been "meerkats." He's heard me say the word enough times, and he loves to watch them scamper about their little grassy habitat. So I think he said "meerkats" and I'm sticking with that. He repeated it tonight for his father, too.
William's starting to put words together sometimes, too. I've been encouraging him to say "please read" when he thrusts a book at me, and I think he may be catching on. He is pretty good about saying "please," and sometimes, he'll say "read" if I don't respond immediately. Hopefully "please read" or "read please" will come out soon. David and I are trying to repeat that sort of phrase a lot so he can copy us. I figure, if we prompt him enough, he'll catch on.
And last night, he said an entire sentence. It was not a particularly profound sentence, but heck, it was a sentence. I swear he said, "It's a snowman." He was looking longingly at an old glass snowglobe that I unearthed from a box of Christmas decorations, but I wasn't letting him play with it. He was fascinated by the way the fake snow drifted around the little snowman figurine, and he just couldn't get enough of watching me shake it up. In fact, he so wanted to play with it that he busted out with a complete sentence to distract me and get his hands on it. And you know, it worked for a few seconds! Luckily I came to my senses before he could steal the snowglobe away. I tried to get him to repeat the sentence, but no dice.
Of course, despite the vocabulary explosion, William still tends to say gobbledygook words that we don't understand and then get very upset when we don't know what he's saying. He'll urgently say...something, and I'll cast about trying to figure out what he's referring to, and he'll repeat the word in an increasingly louder and more frantic tone. He cries out with frustration when I say, "Truck? Bridge? Lawn mower? Dumptruck? What, honey, what are you trying to say?"
Or tonight, he was about to go nuts before David figured out that he was asking for a piece of pumpkin bread. He said, "No!" in an increasingly agitated voice to about fifty things until finally we gave him the right treat. It will be so much better when he can really talk. We encourage him to use his "words" but it's not like he has nearly enough words yet to convey everything that he wants to. I imagine I'd be frustrated in that situation, too. I'm a little envious of parents with children who really can speak clearly; it seems like it would be so much easier to communicate, and it would help head off some misunderstandings that could potentially lead to tantrums. Granted, William is speaking a lot more words than a lot of other children his age, so I can't really be jealous of anyone. But William's friend Leland is only six months older than he is, and wow, you can really understand what she says. I can't wait 'til William can do that, too.