One Day I Will Rule the World

World Domination, Babies and Middle Eastern Dance

March 10, 2009

Language Explosion (all over the place).

I’m home sick with a sick Hannah today. So I don’t know if the sick Hannah will let me finish this post. Mostly we’ve spent all day either napping, or with her curled up in my lap while I read to her. We read for over an hour this morning. My throat hurts.

But anyhow, Hannah’s been picking up so many new words lately that Ian and I started writing down the words she says trying to keep track of everything she knew. This last weekend (after adding like five new words every day for a while) I noticed that she had well over fifty words. And some of them were two word phrases or pretty complicated concepts for a new talker.

I figured she probably just seemed so advanced because neither Ethan nor Rachel were on-schedule or typical talkers. So I was looking up speech milestones. Turns out at 12-18 months (she’s 15 months) depending on your sources, they’ll have 8-10 words or up to 20 words, mostly nouns.

It’s not so much about the quantity of words, as the employment of them. She asks for foods by name – apple, bread, cookie. She makes animal noises when she sees the animal (though everything she doesn’t know gets ‘woof’ by default). She does spatial concepts “sock off”, “sock on”, “dada-hat… on head”. She does adjectives “happy”, “nice”, “hungry”.

And even uses her words to play with us. (“Hiding!”) Or handing Ian his hat saying “dada hat” and then when he puts it on his head saying, “Hannah hat!” and reaching for it back. Or handing me her blanket and then saying gleefully, “No, mine!” Or pointing to a door that we’re sitting near and smilingly saying, “door,” then knocking on it.

What’s been most disconcerting for me is how I’ll suddenly find myself in a conversation with her. Even though all she’s really contributing is “yeah” and “no”. She clearly understands what I’m saying and is very anxious to make her wishes known. For example, today, after giving her a bottle to put her down for a nap, she sat up and started babbling. And I said, “well, you don’t seem very sleepy.” And she answered “no!” so quickly and so emphatically, it was like she had been just waiting for me to clue in so she could agree with me. And I said, “well, maybe I’ll take you downstairs then.” “Yeah!”

I was changing her into more comfortable pants for a day of lounging around sick, but I wasn’t going to change her shirt. But she lunged across the pile of clothes going, “and shirt.”

I said, “oh, did you need a shirt?”


Even that thing about reading to her for over an hour. Apparently under 18 months, they’re entertained by reading for a little while. But not really engrossed in it until about two.

Anyhow, on going over all that with Ian, first he said, “Well, is it any surprise you produced another gifted child?”

And then a little later in the evening, when Hannah was using her intellective powers to try to outstubborn us, Ian said, “You know, it might have been easier if we’d had even one child who didn’t have to be brilliant. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of one who was easy.

Really, the big reason it blows us away is that it all came in less than a month. A month ago we were excited every time she pointed to her nose and said “nose”. For a very long time, her words were essentially “nose”, “hand”, “mom”, “Rachel” and “kittie”. Then, bam, probably over the course of a couple weeks. I suppose that really isn’t out of the ordinary – I seem to recall reading about a language explosion close to 18mo. It’s just – you know, 3 months early and contrasted with two older kids who didn’t really talk before 1.

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  1. Alison

     /  2009-03-10

    Oh, man, she’s going to be a talker? How will she ever fit into this family!

  2. scheherezhade

     /  2009-03-10

    Remember when Ethan was a toddler and you asked me (rather wistfully), “How long until you can have actual intellignt conversations with them? Mind you, he was talking at that point. He just wasn’t listening.

  3. scheherezhade

     /  2009-03-10

    A couple of other things: you said your first words by 9 months. I really don’t remember how quickly it progressed, just that one day you were saying a couple of words, and the next it seemed, you were asking why about everything.

    The other thing is that maybe doing that baby signing class with her got her off to a good start. (Not saying that she isn’t gifted, of course.)


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