Thursday, August 12, 2010


I posted a bit ago about Belle's growing communication skills.  She was spitting out a handful of phrases in an effort to demand things convey her thoughts.  Besides noting the oddness of going straight from no words to phrases and absolutely refusing to use single syllable words, I was pretty excited that whining and grunting for something could begin to be replaced with a primitive form of communication.

Belle, however, doesn't seem to see the value in communication.  At least she's not convinced that in order to communicate clearly she must align her free spirit with the rules of the English language that the rest of us follow.

She has utterly tossed aside several of the things she used to say, refusing even to repeat them if I say them.  For instance if she does something exciting and I say "You did it!  Say 'I did it!'", she stares at me like I'm crazy and she has no idea what I'm talking about.  Never mind that she said, "I did it!" about a hundred times a day a couple weeks ago.

Instead of normal English, she spends most of her time talking in that super cute baby language that sounds like English, having all the correct inflection and noises and earnest facial expression, but is in fact just nonsense.  I do happen to love listening to the gibberish and like to answer her in a way that sounds like we are having a conversation.  I'm sure that language development people would tell me not to encourage the nonsense talk, but it's so stinkin' cute! 

The problem, of course, is that when she wants her cup - no, she still won't say "cup", "milk", "drink"... - she rattles off a bunch of gibberish and waves her arm around.  Or points at the wall.  Or at me.  Or at her own ear.   And then is frustrated that I didn't get "cup" from that.

To make matters worse, she has now decided that any single word or phrase can mean both its real meaning and its opposite meaning.  I know that sounds confusing, so here are two examples:

1: NO

She likes to say 'no'.   As in:
"Let's go change your diaper." 
"No!" and runs off in the opposite direction.

So "no" means "no".

Except for when I say,
"Do you want a snack?"
"No!" with an excited face as she runs to her booster seat and attempts to climb into it. 

So "no" also means "yes."

2: Here Ya Go!

This is a phrase that has remained in her vocabulary.  As before, she uses it often like this:

"Here ya go!" pointing at some toy she can't reach.  She continues to chant that phrase until someone taller than her retrieves it for her.

So "Here ya go" means "Give that to me" 

But other times she says

"Here ya go!" while walking toward me with a book she wants me to read to her.

So "Here ya go!" means "Give this to you."

And in those two instances her meaning is fairly clear, but what about the times when she is standing near things she can't reach, but holding something else and is looking at me as she waves her arms around or points to her own head and says desperately "Here ya go!  Here ya go!"

Seriously, you need Sherlock Holmesian observational skills to decipher what a one-year-old wants.

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