As someone with a background in early childhood education, my favorite discipline to study and the part I find most fascinating about child development is the process of speech & language acquisition. My husband might argue that I have a “natural gift” of speech and language so it’s no surprise I find that area the most interesting. Whatever. Regardless, I could spend all day learning about how the brain processes words, sounds, etc. Neurons and synapses and all those fancy words. Love it! Did I consider becoming a speech & language pathologist? You bet I did. Have I ruled it out for the future? Nope.
Despite my research into this field and my own experiences with young children, it still manages to blow my mind when I hear my own child utter new words. It is just so exciting! Jacob is up to 13 words now, that I know of anyway. I’m sure there are others he “says” that I just don’t understand, and my list doesn’t include a few correct sounds he makes, such as a dog’s woof, a pig’s snort, & a firetruck’s siren wail. The biggest surprise came to me last Saturday. Jacob & I were out and about and I pulled a banana out of our lunchbag. Without any prompting he pointed & announced clear as day, “nana!” I almost fell over. I had no idea he knew that word! He’s since said it a dozen more times, both directed at real bananas & at pictures of bananas. It’s just proof that he’s been listening & understanding for many months, but for some reason August 28th was the day he chose to actually use his new knowledge. Fascinating!
Jacob’s great-grandfather passed away exactly 3 weeks before he was born. I framed a photo of him and put it on Jacob’s bedroom shelf, as though he is looking down on his great-grandson. My mother-in-law showed him that picture two weeks ago when she was at our house, and obviously mentioned that it was “Papa.” For two weeks I never mentioned that photo & it remained up on the shelf. Suddenly this week Jacob began pointing at it, and when I pulled it off the shelf, he started waving, smiling, and said, “Hi Papa.” Wow. It floored me. I couldn’t wait to show off Jacob’s new skill to my mother-in-law, and as I expected she just melted to hear our sweet baby say those words to her dad.
Today we walked across the street to talk with our babysitter, Beth. On our way over I said to Jacob, “Let’s go see Beth. Can you say, ‘Beth?’” And he immediately said, “Beh?” I can’t write his new words down in his baby book fast enough. Man, I love this kid!