Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Watching My Son Grow: Language and Abstract Concepts

Cinco de Mayo Sparkle Pony.
Lately, Rowan has been growing and changing by leaps and bounds. While he has stayed at relatively the same size, his brain development and advancing coordination has been astounding to watch.

We started talking to him and signing to him as soon as he was born, hoping that he would pick it up early and often. We often wondered if anything that we were doing was having any effect, since he used the same syllable ("ba") to mean a statement, a question, and pretty much everything in his universe. We need not worry about that any longer.

About a month ago, he started making all the signs t get his basic needs met. He had made them intermittently before, sometimes keeping a sign, sometimes losing it for a month or so- but all of the sudden- BAM!  He now makes signs every day to help us care for him: "milk", "water", "juice", "food", "sleep", and "diaper". Given that he is a generally cheerful guy unless he is hungry, thirtsy, or sleepy- this has been awesome. We have been able to eliminate 80% of his frustration because he can tell us what he needs now.

Here's Rowan, making a personally adapted sign for "more", over and over:

While his go-to syllable is still "ba", he is actively trying to say the words we give to him now. Yesterday, he asked for a slice of bell pepper, and we gave him one- and as usual said "Pepper. Peh-Purrrr." Then he let loose with "beh buh". "Great! Puh Puh Puh- Pep-Purr!" and he enthusiastically went through and tried to make the P sound (which he did) and the end sounds (which appear harder for him to do).

He knows the names of his body parts (most of them, anyway)- and when we ask, "Where's your hair? Your belly button? Your penis? Your elbow?" he can tell us proudly. (And let me tell you- he IS proud. He claps for himself and stomps his feet and does this funny rooster dance that he made up when he's excited about his accomplishments.)

On the go baby, complete with snack jar.
He has also started trying to telling me stories. Short ones, yes. About what just happened. If he falls and hits his head on the chair, he gets my attention, points to his head, the chair, and the ground emphatically saying "ba! ba! ba!". That's my cue to say, "Yes, Rowan. I saw you fall and hit your head on that chair." He seems satisfied after that. I'm delighted he wants to share these things with me. Once, he even fell but did not hit the table, but I saw him move mid-fall so that he would not- preventing himself from getting hurt on the table. He went through the same routine- pointing to the floor, his head, the table. I said, "Good job, Booper- you didn't hit your head!" Then he did the clap and rooster dance for himself.

With him picking up new words every day now, I am so looking forward to having actual conversations with my son.


  1. It has never occurred to me until this moment I have not taught my three-year-old son "penis" along with the other body parts. Vestiges of the way I was raised hanging on I suppose, shall have to remedy that.

    It is so nice when you can start talking back and forth with your children. I love doing that with Damian, at breakfast we talk about the past night's dreams. We did sign from him too but he seemed to pick up words more readily, my daughter on the other hand seems more comfortable with sign.

  2. I bet you are. How lovely.

    Discovered your blog a few weeks ago- it's really wonderful.

    I'm very thankful.



  3. I've followed your blog since its beginnings, and Rowan is growing up terrifically. I hope that when I'm grown enough for children, I'll be as loving a parent as you two.

    A lot of parents will talk about the fact that they're not 'to blame' or anything else for the way their kids turned out, even if their kids ended up being fantastic individuals. But I really do think parents play a huge part, especially when the kid is still so young. My parents exposed me to some incredible things (I was, and still am, a wilderness child, though as of this year I guess I'm a proper adult). Without that nurturing care from my mom and dad, I wouldn't be the person I am today.

    I'm so, so happy for your family.

  4. Oh, what lovely inspiring comments! Thank you so much for the praise (blushes)- it is a blogger's paycheck, so I was paid well for this one!

    @Jaspenelle: I know what you mean. Often, I realize something that I am doing or not doing in relation to Rowan and go WTH? It is so easy to default to the programming you were raised with- especially as a parent, since we are overworked and tired a lot. Creativity requires extra effort and a fresh mind, and sometimes my mind is, well, not so fresh!


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