28 August 2007

Monkey-isms

The Monkey was a bit of a late talker. As a concerned parent, I scoured the interwebs for information about language development. The only real milestone The Monkey didn't reach was "meaningful two-word phrases by age 2" but our laid-back pediatrician told me he didn't want to see him back for any language concerns until "4 months after he turns 2." As I started counting down after his birthday (on which he gleefully started proclaiming "Cake!" and "Bow!" both brand-new words) he started saying "Hi Daddy." Then "Bye, babies" to the infants in The Wombat's daycare room. Within a few weeks, his language skills had (finally) exploded. By the end of July, I was no longer so concerned and we have no immediate plans to visit the pediatrician for a developmental checkup.

He still has a few quirks, though. Although he speaks in complex sentences now, he sometimes stumbles over words or struggles to say a word, even when it's something easy that he knows. He switches back and forth between the baby word and the correct word for some things (baba vs. bath), even within the same sentence. His speech doesn't flow smoothly yet - he still pauses noticeably between words when putting together a long sentence. The Scientist and I have dubbed this his "robot boy" mode. Prepositions, conjunctions, and articles are few and far between, but increasing as we put emphasis on them when we speak and repeat his sentences back to him ("Monkey Wombat go in blue car." vs "Monkey AND Wombat go in THE blue car.").

As he gradually leaves his toddler struggles with language behind, I find that I miss some of his unique Monkey-isms. Some of our favorites have been:


  • The Monkey refused to use his brother's name for several months, calling The Wombat "BayBEE" like he was a native French speaker.

  • He finally started using his brother's name, but mangled it to be "Eye-kick" (can anyone guess The Wombat's real name?), which continues today.

  • The yellow fruit with a peel that's ubiquitous in toddler diets was "blblablabla," a string of unpronouncable-to-an-adult consonants. One night after dinner a couple of weeks ago he started calling it a "bana" and looked at us like we were crazy when we tried to get him to say the made-up word he'd been using for over a year. Apparently it's gone forever, but we do have it on video (one of the few truly excellent moments we've managed to catch with the camera).

  • The Scientist hates it when he hears "[person] lay down" and has been trying to get The Monkey to use "lie down" instead. The Monkey has decided that the correct usage is "lie downing," as in "Mama lie downing on floor," used for both a command and an observation.

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