A word about words.
January 31, 2011

The very first word out of Charlotte’s mouth was HI!  As soon as she figured it out, she said it to everyone for about a week and then she clammed up.  It wasn’t until about the last six weeks that she really began to communicate verbally again.

Oh, she said things here and there in between.  But it really didn’t count.  She mostly made sounds: nibbling sounds for squirrels and hissing sounds for snakes and mooing sounds for cows and screeching sounds for raptors.  Even vrooming sounds for trucks and chooing sounds for trains.  Fellow moms would list of the seven billion words their children, invariably younger than mine, were saying and I’d be all YEAH?!  Well, my child is mute.  BEAT THAT, BITCHES!

And then Charlotte discovered cheese.

Practicing our lion roars, our donkey kicks, our laundry folding, and our hamming it up!

Cheese is one of the great loves of my daughter’s life.  It ranks just above carousel rides and just below chasing the cats around the house butt naked.  Naturally, it didn’t take long for her to realize that the only way that she was ever going to get her parents to give her some of that cheesy magic on demand was to speak up and start demanding it.

It took some practice, but pretty soon CHEESE! actually sounded distinctly different from SHOES!  Charlotte has not gone a day without cheese ever since.  Everything from havarti to gruyere, from parmesan to beaufort, from edam to manchego has graced her lips and she has loved all of them equally well.  Except that one cheese I bought her that had jalapenos in it.

She began experimenting with all sorts of words and combinations of words after that.  The more people in her life – be they her parents or complete strangers – understood her cries for YOG! (yogurt) or BALL! Or PAY! (play) or even CAR DO VOOM! (the car goes vroom), the more devoted she became to speaking.

Veteran parents talk about children’s first words like they are gateway drugs to hardcore chatterboxing it up, which is pretty much the cocaine of childhood in that it gives munchkins this incredible high but bugs the shit out of everyone around them.  Just about every kid goes through some phase wherein they never shut up.  They wake up in the morning with their lips moving and they fall asleep at night with their lips moving.  According to parents of older children, this inevitably leads to all sorts of parental brain damage.

We aren’t quite there yet, my girl and I, but we’re marching ever closer.  And right now, I have to admit that I have never looked forward to inevitable brain damage more in my life.

Words in Charlotte’s life right now: CHEE! (cheese), kih (kiss), yes, no, luh (love), ticka (tickle), yog (yogurt), pay (play), poke (book), boom, poop, mik (milk), cup, hat, dog, mo (more), cat, teeth, down, hi, wuh dat? (what’s that?), dat chash (that’s trash), ball, feet, car, oh, buhkee (bonkies), toe, hi, good, dare (there), fah down (fall down), ap-he (happy), tank (thanks), poon (spoon), cool, code (cold), now, hep (help), dat cawcaw (that says caw-caw), wah kih (want kiss), yog now (yogurt now), duck do cakcak (ducks go quack quack), wah down (want down), up, brum (drum), ruh (run), puk (park), foo (food or fruit, I’m not sure), dat (that), bubba (bubbles), keys, hah (hot), car do voom (cars go vroom), stay, and choo (shoes).

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  1. By missjoules on January 31, 2011

    Way to go Charlotte! I love/hate this phase, I always feel really guilty when children of her age/ability are talking to me becuase I’m mostliy like, “Oh, really?“ “Yeah?“ “Hmm!“ “Exciting!“ because I have no idea what they are saying and their poor long-suffering parents kind of hover and try to translate. Hope she doesn’t drive you too crazy as this progresses!

  2. By on January 31, 2011

    So exciting!  Way to go Charlotte!
    My 4 year old son is one of those kids who never shuts up- from the second he wakes up until he goes to sleep.  We have to tell him “less talking and more eating” at meal times.  I do have to agree about the parental brain damage some days.

  3. By Helen on January 31, 2011

    She may have been a slow starter at speaking but, is certainly advanced in the taste dept. I still can’t eat parmesan. That smell…YUK!

  4. By DawnC on January 31, 2011

    I love when toddlers learn to talk!  Our son is 20, but sometimes my husband and I sit and say words that he used to say when he was little….good memories.  :)

  5. By Tabitha (From Single to Married) on January 31, 2011

    This makes me feel better because Henry has done the same thing - he’d start saying something (or doing something, such as waving) and then he’d stop doing it for weeks at a time.  So strange.  He’s just now getting into talking again.  Of course all he says right now is ma ma, da da, and “dah” (which I assume is “dog”).  But for right now it’s enough. :)

  6. By Sarah Christensen on January 31, 2011

    Miss Joules - LOL, me too =)  I’m not a very good translator, either, so I’m sure she gets even more frustrated too.  I know what she’s saying, but I feel like if she can’t communicate clearly then she needs to keep practicing and improving, you know?  Me telling other people that YOG! means yogurt isn’t going to help very much on that front, right?

    I don’t know.  Maybe in a couple of weeks, I’ll be so tired of the communication confusion and frustration that I’ll start translating constantly lol.

    Tabitha - At least he says those words, that’s awesome!  Charlotte only just last week figured out Momma.

  7. By Amber on January 31, 2011

    As my mother would gladly tell you, I apparently never outgrew the phase of talking all the time ;)

  8. By erin on January 31, 2011

    That was exactly Hannah, except she would just say Mama and Dada indiscriminately.  It wasn’t until about 3-4 months ago that she figured out that *I* am Mama and Brian is Dada.  I started writing down all her words as she learns them, and I noticed that it is really within the last two months that her vocabulary has just EXPLODED.  Previously it had been learning 3-4 new words a month… and then in December she learned like 30, and this month she learned another 30 or so.  Just this morning she surprised me when I asked where Daddy was, and she pointed to the bathroom and said quite distinctly, “Potty!“  (Which was actually where he was!)  Imho language acquisition is about the most amazing thing to watch EVER.

  9. By Katy @ Wiggle Wagon on January 31, 2011

    Wow!  She is quite the linguist!  I love chatty kids personally.  It’s the “Why?“ phase that drives me crazy.

  10. By Alicia S. on January 31, 2011

    DawnC—My husband and I always make each other promise that we’ll never forget the funny phrases and mispronunciations our son has said over his toddler year, so that when he’s twenty, we can sit and do the same thing. :-)

  11. By missjoules on January 31, 2011

    Sarah I think that I will struggle with the hovering and wanting to help my kid vs. encouraging him to practice and be understood in his own merit. I always feel bad for children whose parents do all their speaking for them and I think that your encouraging Charlotte to communicate clearly is a good thing.

    Also I meant to say this before but I love, love, love that cheese was her motivator. I also love, love, love cheese though :) Can’t wait until I lose all the pregnancy cheese restrictions!

  12. By Cynthia Krajcarski on January 31, 2011

    Oh man, the talking. Isla is in that phase where she never shuts up. I love it though, I love that she can ask me for things. The first time she asked me for a cookie, my heart hit the ground and I promised that I’ll give her cookies for as long as she asks for them. I lied, of course.

    Just wait until Charlotte comes to you with a complete sentence. You will die. Just a few weeks ago Isla ran up to me, trying to get her sweater zipped up, and said, “I can’t do it!“ *thud*

  13. By Megan R. on January 31, 2011

    Way to go, Charlotte (or not, ha!).  Finnley has not yet had her “epiphany of speech” yet, but she does “talk”.  And…she starts the second she wakes up.  EVERY morning begins with bed-head and the word “dis?“.  She says it when pointing to her zipper…meaning, please unzip THIS.  Amazing what they come up with.  Can’t wait for more.  Enjoy it, as I know you will!

  14. By Las Vegas DUI Lawyer on February 02, 2011

    Cheese and shoes..that’s the best! Your little one is a foodie at a tender age. She will just have to substitute grape juice for wine.

  15. By on February 02, 2011

    Emily’s version of milk is “mote”.  “I want mote”  is the cutest sentence thus far.  Charlotte has come a long way in such a brief time - imagine in just another month what more she’ll be saying!!





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