Speech! speech!

At 21 months, it seems like Dominic is finally beginning to move into the “language” phase of development.  He has been able to communicate his wishes pretty well for the past nine months or so with a combination of baby sign language (“more,” “please,” “all done”, and “hot”, plus one sign of his own invention that means “come”), pointing, and the utterly interminable repetition of a seagull-esque “eh? eh? eh? eh? eh?”  As far as I can tell, he essentially uses this sound to mean, “Make it so.”  (Alternate translations include, “I want that,” “Look, look!”, “Can I do this?”, and “…Houston, we have a problem.”)

For a little while, he has been trying to imitate some basic word sounds, but it’s all been imitation and not purposeful communication.

Then, about two weeks ago, he said his first word, (besides “Mamamamama” and “Dadadada,” which don’t count.)  While going up the stairs with Daddy, who always counts the steps aloud as they go, Dominic took a step and said, “…..nuuuuunnnnn…..?”  [It sounded like a lilting question, though, come to think of it, this is exactly the tone we use when we count anything out loud with him.]

‘Yes! ‘One’!” We shouted.  “…can you say, ‘two’?”

“……nuuuunnnn…..?”

Well, maybe not.  But a few days later, when he thought no one was around, I distinctly heard him say, “…..nuuuunnnn…..?  …dooooo….?  …..feeee……?”  (I’ve just…never heard it since.  But!  It was there!  I promise!)

No other words have been as reliable as that one, though he has started singing the last four (well, three) words of that one-hit wonder, The Wheels on the Bus.  Singing this song with him — which, yes, has been going on in this household for almost a year — now sounds something like this:

Us: “The babies on the bus go—”

Dominic: “Wah, wah, wah….wah wah wah…..wah wah wah!” [Pretty much on pitch, too!]

Us: “The babies on the bus go—”

Dominic: “Wah, wah, wah…..AAAAH doooo daaaaah!”

Close enough.

[UPDATE: Just this week, Dominic has added another “communicative sound” — not a word, exactly, but very definitely intended to convey a specific meaning, and Mommy is not thrilled.  Conversations with him now go something like this:

Me: “Dominic, honey, it’s time to [insert any activity].”

Dominic: [firmly shaking his head, sometimes accompanied by a finger wag] “Uh-uh.”

This sound can also be used creatively to communicate, “You are seriously bugging me right now,” as when the babysitter tried to distract him from his wailing after Mommy, by suggesting, “Dominic, why don’t you come over here and play with me?”  Dominic spun around, glared at her, jabbed his little finger in her direction, and yelled, “Uh-uh!!“]

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2 thoughts on “Speech! speech!

  1. Yay, Dominic!! Mara babbled nonsense for a long time before attempting real words, but I noticed she was talking numbers a lot. She can actually count to 10 now. 🙂
    Also, she has picked up Ana’s habit of saying, “No way!” Yeah, so… I feel you.

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