Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Learning to Talk

Liam turned two earlier this month. He's officially a late talker, I guess. At his 2-year well child visit he was pronounced healthy in every way and we were told to encourage his talking. So, we've been trying. He understands everything, it seems like, and can follow pretty complicated instructions (e.g., go get your shoes in the kitchen and bring them to Daddy), but he uses only about 15 words and maybe 6-8 signs.

He uses his version of what animals say for both the noise an animal makes and the name of the animal. So, a dog says uh-uh and a dog is uh-uh. Except for my parents' SWD, he learned her name (Emma) and says it all the time. He won't say Mollie's name to save a life even though he can say both "mama" and "ollie" so he ought to be able to manage it. Similarly airplanes, airports, and the noise airplanes make are all the same sound "brrrrfpt." Some of it is, I think, just being stubborn. He says "gogo" for Grandpa, but won't use a word beyond "eh" for Grandma or GG (what we call Will's mother).

Lately the big thing has been learning his colors. He can say yellow, blue and (sort of) red and green; and he recognizes all those four colors and will pick them out and say his words for them if you ask. He also knows black, sort of. We're also working on recognizing and naming feelings, with an emphasis on happy (he'll say "happy, happy" but I'm not sure he's connected it to the feeling yet exactly) and sad. He is fascinated with pictures of people crying in books (e.g., the boy in this delightful book who cries because his pet kitten is hungry but won't eat the piece of birthday cake he is trying to feed it).

One really nice thing about this learning to talk is that now we can talk about what happens in the stories. This is neat. If you ask Liam what happens in the kitten/birthday cake story, he can pretty much tell you with his funny combination of words, sounds, signs and gestures.

One of the strangest things about raising a child is the realization that you really do have to teach them all this stuff: colors, feelings, names of stuff, numbers, letters, and those are just the easy lessons to contemplate. It's something.

Will is doing okay. The testosterone shots aren't making as huge a difference as we had hoped, but they are helping. He's starting to feel a little congested, so that's a worry, as always. The patio is done except for cutting the half blocks for the edge and putting in the edging. We'll get to that whenever, I guess. Similarly, the kitchen is basically done except for painting (who knows when that will happen) and patching the floor (also not likely to be a near term priority). So, we're enjoying our new spaces and all the sunshine we've had here lately. I'm off to Hanford at 0-dark 30 tomorrow, so Liam is at my parents' for the night. Sure is quiet without him.


IVF 40+ said...

Liam does sound like a lovely lad and he certainly looks like a charmer! I was a late talker and now ... well, I can't shut up!
Thanks for all your support. As always it is thoughtful and comforting. I hope Will's congestion clears up.
Have a great 4th

mekate said...

I was hoping the testosterone would be magical. I hope that the congestion is temporary. and Liam sounds so incredibly amazing-- My nephew did not talk really at all until 4, then slowly till 5, then holy crap we cannot shut him up. So, I never worry if understanding is happening.
and you wrote so beautifullly about the realization of teaching everything from scratch-- how incredible? it is all stuff we see and hear and taste and do, but this is all about creating a common set of noises we call language, how crazy is that?

take care and enjoy your weekend. I hope you get one!