Monday, July 21, 2014

Benjin Language

Benjamin insisted on having his "ABCD Chart" in his bed at naptime today. He always requests "Mommy lay down" with him, but I tell him I will count to 14 (he knows 1-13 and I'm trying to gradually build understanding by adding the next number) and lay my head on his pillow with him.

It's 1:48 and he's been in bed nearly 3/4 of an hour and still chatting away. Among the chatter, I just heard:

"Fix it wheel, Mommy's car" (had a flat this morning and AAA came to the rescue)

I love to check my email during naptime while listening to him chat away. Well, I am cool with it for awhile, then I hope he falls asleep because he is not a happy kid without a nap. Eavesdropping on him these days is just so innocently sweet and I presume way better than eavesdropping on a teenager of which he will be in just over 10 years. He talks about what he knows and says words that he understands at this sweet age of 2.

The thing is, he doesn't always say words correctly. The teacher in me screams correct him each time! But the mom in me who adores his innocence and is amazed by his gradual acquisition of words we speak aloud all the time. The mom in me just wants to listen and soak it in. And videotape each word-- as my husband rolls his eyes and tells me we don't have to save everything.

I talk with Benjamin all day long. I ask him questions. I give him choices. I verbalize things I'm doing (especially when I go to the potty because HELLO KID, we only have EIGHT toilets you can use, including kid potties). I sing songs with him and read books and recite poems and books and practice letters and numbers. I connect what we're learning with books we read and try to invite learning experiences to everyday activities. I'm a teacher and that's just how the trained brain of a teacher works! He has no shortage of language development. There are plenty of kids his age who are speaking full sentences with every word in the correct order and in perfect sequence, and there are kids his age who are speaking less. I have no hangups about this. He is developing perfectly. He often shies when around kids he isn't around often and adults he doesn't know. But if you know him well and the environment is less hectic, he will talk, talk, talk.

His vocabulary lately is astounding. We were climbing on top of real (and legitimately tall) war tanks at Cantigny Park a couple weeks ago and he spoke loudly, "Nervous!"

We hadn't been using that word or asking him if he was... he just told us his emotion correctly in the moment. Not scared. Not "Mommy down", but nervous.

Having an understanding of emotions and verbs is so fun to hear. Yes, he knows hoards of nouns and certainly knows all the words to things he wants (show, treat, milk, juice, toy, trucks, pool, ice cream...), but to verbalize his feelings with intellectual language just amazes me.

When he went on the potty recently (twice ever) and whenever he completes a puzzle correctly or manages putting on his own shoes or finishes a meal (miracle in itself), he recently started using the word "celebrate" to commemorate his achievements. He even throws his hands up and yells "hooray" and claps. He also checks to make sure you're also sufficiently celebrating with him.

He says a few things that I simply have a hard time correcting because the mom in me (who knows he will learn soon and correct himself eventually) is winning over the teacher:

"Benjin" - I say his name correctly all. day. long. And sometimes he says it right. But isn't it just adorable?
"Hug you" & "Help you" - He's really trying to say "hug me" and "help me", but is getting hung up on correct pronoun usage.
"I lub you" - I mean. Really. How cute.
"Say-key" - Somehow that means "scary" and just this week, he's gradually moving over to the correct pronunciation.
"Gawbee" - That's what he calls my mom. Not a single person ever said that. We always used "Grandma" and he somehow managed Gawbee. It stuck.
"Gramie Daddy" - He calls Grandma Wilson "Gramie" just like we introduced her as... but Grandpa Wilson? He is referred to as Gramie Daddy. You know, the Daddy version of a Gramie. Touche.

The teacher in me is thrilled that his language is transforming and some of his former Benjamin-isms are transforming into word mastery and the mom in me is having heart flutters... both good and bittersweet that my little boy is growing so quickly.

While I just love our Benjamin and want him to grow and achieve and kick serious butt on those arbitrary development charts, I also want Benjin to personally develop and grow and personally enjoy learning about his world.


Brie said... [Reply to comment]

Haha. Grammie daddy is a good one. Quite perceptive, actually. And I too, love brief chatter at naptime.

Nicole said... [Reply to comment]

I love the language they use. It was a sad day for me when Addalee started saying banana instead of "baddee." I'm glad she's learning, but I miss it!

Gawbee reminds me of Gangi from Arrested Development! Hahah.

Brooke said... [Reply to comment]

Gramie Daddy is freaking adorable. Zuzu pronounces many words perfectly but still calls water "la-lo" even though she can say "water" if she tries. David will encourage her to repeat "wa-ter" but I secretly hope she calls it "la-lo" forever. I do love when she surprises us by saying something new.

Sneaker Teacher said... [Reply to comment]

I am also a big fan of toddler talk and have been totally amazed at Grace's language development. Her vocabulary astounds me daily. She will remember things she has only ever heard once and repeats characters and events from the stories we cute! She doesn't pronounce a few sounds yet (/k/ and /l/) so some words aren't correct, yet I know those sounds come in time. Of course, I looked up sound acquisition just to be sure :0) I always thought this age would be so difficult, and it can be, but it's also SO rewarding.

I LOVE Gramie Daddy. That is THE CUTEST thing ever. Grace calls my MIL "GEM" because she couldn't say gram at first and even now that she can Gem just stuck. I love special nicknames. "Nervous" is awesome too. It's really cool when they use words in context on their own when you haven't just said it. Shows that they truly get it. Amazing!

Veronica said... [Reply to comment]

This stage in toddlerhood slays me. Just so freaking adorable.

Caroline said... [Reply to comment]

I love this. Finn used to call his cousins Carson and Maddox "cah-cah and Lala" - ha. So adorable to see them learning language.

Danielle said... [Reply to comment]

FYI... he pushed the 'red triangle button' in my car today :D i was so impressed!! <3

Melissa said... [Reply to comment]

Language development is one of my most favourite stages. I love hearing how she interprets our surroundings. Nicknames are delightful, I hope it sticks! I still call my aunt by the nickname i gave her as a child.