Monday, January 05, 2009

Speech, speech

One thing that's been a lot of fun about William as he's gotten older is his language development. He started talking pretty early and acquired words at a very rapid rate, then began speaking in sentences before I could even write down all his new words. He said the word "balcony" yesterday, and I wondered, "Where did he learn that?" And then I remembered the times when I would run to make a note of his new words.

Now he's at the age where he has started telling long, rambling, imaginative stories. The other morning, he sat in his bed and told himself a story. I know this because I was eavesdropping via the baby monitor. I couldn't make out every single word, but clearly he was caught up in his own story. When David finally went in to liberate him from the crib, he told him all about how the SuperReaders (from the PBS show "SuperWhy") and the "castle people" (the people from his Fisher-Price castle) showed up at the front door. We often hear stories now about the castle people. In fact, I need to sit down next to him with a pen and write them down when he starts to spin these stories and preserve them for his amusement (and mine) years from now.

Of course, the language and cognitive development has its downside, too. Yesterday morning, I was changing him and getting him dressed, and he stuck his face up and chirped, "You're stupid, Mommy!" Great. He knows the toddler S word. David has apologized, saying William might have learned it from him (you know, of course, that David's general approach toward life is "if something is stupid, I tend to say so.") We're taking a zero tolerance approach to name-calling, though. I immediately told William "time out" and marched out of the room, shutting the door. He burst into tears and sobbed until I came back in. Then he fell on me, saying, "I won't say that word anymore, Mommy, I'm sorry." He knew he was saying something naughty. And now he knows we don't like it and won't put up with it. I think you have to take a hard line with this sort of thing--biting and hitting, too. You don't want them to ever think it's acceptable to hit someone or hurt them by calling them a mean name. "Stupid" isn't really that bad, but it is mean to call someone that, and William needs to understand that. It's also the first step towards names that are much worse.

Of course, he does still say many wonderful things, too. I was sick off and on during Christmas and New Year's, and many times, he sweetly inquired, "Mommy, are you still feeling sick?" And when I said that I was still feeling bad, he would pat my arm or hug me and respond, "I'll take care of you." All together now: Awwwwwww.

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