Learning to talk

The toddler years can be tough. It is also really cool to watch a little human being figure out how to talk. From 18-24 months (give or take) there is an incredible burst of language acquisition.

My little guy is in that phase now. A few months ago, there were just a few words: Mama, Dada, baba (bottle/cup/anything liquid), woof-woof (basically any animal), and “up” when he wished to be picked up. He figured out “what-dat?” fairly early in the process, since it was useful for asking the names of items.

Now there are new words daily. Apple. Strawberry. Banana. Yogurt. Pasta. Pizza. Gummies (sigh…) Please. Thank you. Everyone’s names in his immediate circle. Boat. Crab (there’s one in a favorite book). Choo-choo (he loves the Thomas the Tank Engine set). Hat. Hi. Bye. He sings the “Baby Shark” song and does the motions. He likes to sing “swish, swish, swish” from the wipers verse of the Wheels on the Bus song. “Bus” is another fun one to call out when we take his siblings out to the bus stop in the morning. “No” and “mine” have of course become favorites. It’s interesting to see what words have the most utility. This can change based on the situation (we found out he knew “eye” because he got something in his eye and kept pointing to it and saying “Eye!”). He has made the leap to putting together 2-3 word phases. “Mommy phone” or “Daddy hat.”

It all feels like such a breakthrough, because on such a fundamental level knowing words and knowing how words work enables effective communication. If he’s hungry, he doesn’t have to point and scream if you don’t understand. He can say “strawberry” and “cheese” and you know exactly what he wants for a snack. It doesn’t entirely eliminate the screaming, because he doesn’t always get what he wants (sorry, there is no “up” when we’ve still got 2 hours to go in a car trip…) but it feels much more satisfying. It’s also cool to see his personality revealing itself.

Because he is so much younger than everyone else around here, he is always the “baby.” But since he will be 2 in December he isn’t really a baby anymore! Every day he becomes more and more of a little kid. Though I did think about turning off Cocomelon this morning when the big kid bed song came on. We are *not* ready for that yet…

In other news: A great many people have experienced remote work over the past 18 months, and a great many people would like to keep experiencing it. If that’s going to involve job hunting for you, I want to share a resource: FlexJobs. This company is a long-time friend of this blog, and they specialize in remote/flexible jobs for professionals. As anyone who’s looked for a remote job in the past knows, there are a ton of scams out there, so FlexJobs screens all positions to verify that they are legit. You can sign up for a free trial here.

We are gathering a great community over at the Best of Both Worlds Patreon page. I’m really looking forward to our first online gathering next week Tuesday night. If you want to be part of that, please join by then!

And finally, if you’re interested in hearing me speak, check out the UNC School of Medicine’s Women in Medical Sciences retreat this Friday, September 24th. After this event went virtual because of the Delta variant the organizers decided to make it open to the public. It runs from 9 a.m. to a little past noon (eastern) and I will probably be speaking around 10:30, but if you’re signing up please consider coming for the whole thing, because there are other good speakers. See you there! You can register here. 


4 thoughts on “Learning to talk

  1. One of my favorite stages of child development! Well, they are all my favorite stages, but the language explosion is so fun.
    I noticed that my son said “no” a lot, too. Yes, it’s part of developing independence, but I also noticed that when he wanted to show assent he didn’t say “yes”, or anything consistently. And I realized that we adults didn’t, either! We have a lot of words for assent, like yeah, sure, okay, sounds good, etc. Perhaps for a toddler there were too many phrases for assent! He seemed a bit flummoxed when he didn’t know how to tell me “yeah, that’s the thing I want”. I started making a concerted effort to say “yes” more often, along with those others, and the toddler did, too.
    Have fun!

  2. Yes, I was home with my son over the summer and am back into work this September and it feels like every day I come home and he’s learned a new word! (He’s 18 months.) I will say sometimes I feel like I need a translator because he’ll be shouting a word and if I can’t figure it out he gets frustrated! So we still do a lot of pointing, haha. It’s a sometimes-trying but very cool stage for sure!

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