One of the most exciting things that has happened in the last few weeks is the flurry of real words coming from Thomas’s mouth.
He’s always been a very vocal and chatty child. He’s been making a lot of different sounds, and making them constantly, for months. We’ve even had strings of sounds that really could easily be interpreted as sentences – in particular the phrase “I did it”. (Which I may or may not have tried to use to my advantage. Ahem.) He’s also a fabulous mimic, and as early as 7 month would repeat sounds in the rhythm of songs we sung to him. So when we sung “The Wheels on the Bus” he’d often chant a stream of nonsense noises back but with the tune and intonation of our song perfectly preserved.
I count real words as being those which are associated with a specific object or meaning, though.
A few weeks ago, I pointed at a picture of a cow in a book we were reading together.
“What’s that?” I asked.
After a moment’s hesitation, Thomas responded with a resounding “Mooooooooooo” complete with a look of complete self satisfaction on his little face. Since then, he’s been able to regularly recognise cows as “Moo’s” and we’ve also had some “Baaa” and “Naaaaaay” sounds (for sheep and horses, of course). Although if there is any doubt about what an animal is, it tends to become a “Moo” too.
In the last couple of weeks, all vehicles have become known as “Nee Naws”. It doesn’t matter if it’s a tipper truck, a car or a fire engine, to Thomas it’s a “Nee Naw” and he pushes all his toy vehicles around the house chanting “Nee Naw, Nee Naw” over and over again. Vehicles which fly, including aeroplanes and space ships, however, make a “weeeeeeeeeeeeeee” noise as they go. I’m so impressed with his ability to know the difference between something that should be driven along, and something that should be flown around his head. I have no idea how he learned this. Similarly I have no idea how he knows that the vast array of different types of car he’s seen are all cars (or “nee naws”) from te real ones on the road outside, to the wooden toys, plastic models and cartoon pictures in books. It truly amazes me.
And yesterday, to take it one step further, he came out quite of his own accord with “toot toot” as he played with the toy train we gave him for Christmas. And all trains will henceforth be known as “toot toot’s”in this house.
He has a string of other words that I think are probably typical for a toddler of his age. “Eh-oh” shouted enthusiastically whenever he picks up a phone, (or remote control, or any other object that resembles a phone) which he puts he straight on to his shoulder. “Up” and “Down”, “No” and “Me”. He also has a fabulous “Oh dear” with a face to accompany it.
He still sings back to us too. But now he also sings to himself. He recognises “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” instantly, whether sung by us, in his musical nursery rhyme book or played badly by me on the iPad xylophone. His instant response on hearing it is to say “up above”, whilst pointing up. We think he thinks that is the main point of the song and it’s certainly the only bit of the song he actually sings words too.
We heard him over the baby monitor one night mumbling the tune to himself, with the occasional “up above”.
I may have teared up just a little bit.
I’m such a softie.