Addy's language development is by far my favorite part of age 2. Every single day, she will say at least one new word or phrase that takes me by surprise - and usually has me laughing. Language is yet another area where I really have no benchmark or idea as to what I should reasonably expect from her, but I have been told by strangers on more than one occasion that she speaks very well for a 2.5 year old. And we've definitely entered the stage where she.does.not.shut.her.mouth. It's nauseating sometimes. I used to see kids with their parents where I work with something like the following exchange:
Kid: "This is an orange cart. Mom, this is an orange cart. MOMMY! Look, this is an orange cart. MOOOOOOOOOOOOM!"
Kid: "Look, it's an orange cart."
Mom: *sigh* "Yes, honey, it's orange."
I used to think to myself, "you know, you could just acknowledge them the first time and avoid the whole situation..." But now I TOTALLY get it. If I acknowledged every single thing Addy said all the time, I would never be able to complete an entire thought in my own head. Or finish any sentence with any other person. Sometimes, you just HAVE to ignore them, secretly hoping that they will just shut up and walk away. But they don't. They're relentless at 2.5 years old, I tell you!
I can understand about 99% of what Addy says, while I'd estimate my husband gets about 85%. I usually know what she's trying to say, even if she's saying it wrong; I correct her, and we go on our way. With everyone else, she's actually forced to keep trying until she gets the pronunciation right, or at least pretty close. It's hilarious to watch this, too. She'll pause, crinkle her forehead, sometimes get a little frustrated depending on how many times she is asked to repeat it, and she'll overexaggerate the syllables. This happens the most with words containing the letter L. She usually skips over the L sound, so when she realizes that she has to say it, she tries so hard to get her tongue movement right that she ends up double or triple saying it. Example:
She says: Fwankyen
She tries harder: Frankyen
She overtries: Frank-el-el-in
I love watching her mind work on making the words sound right, and the smile of pride that she gets when the person finally gets what she's saying.
Of course, her budding use of language is forcing me to watch what I say, too. I'm not going to lie, the F-bomb has unfortunately slipped out of her mouth on two occasions, and I know she didn't get that from her father. After she said it in front of company, I've been much better about my usage (for the record, painting the living room walls with a toddler around is not a good idea).
Here's a few details about her current language usage/learning:
- Lately she precedes a yes or no answer with "Um", like a valley girl. "Um, no."
- She does a very good job of using context clues to help others understand what she's saying if she's having an extra difficult time forming the words
- She's good with sentences, but sometimes on longer than usual ones, she has to pause and think about the order of the words. Or, she'll say it kind of jumbled first, then pause and say it again correctly
- When Matt gets home from work, she usually gives him a narrative of the day (sometimes it details a previous day, but it's still cute)
- She's constantly describing everything she sees from her carseat, and wants confirmation that it's all correct
- Anytime she leaves the room with a purpose (such as to go find her purple water cup), she announces, "I'm going to get my purple water, I'll be riiiiiight back."
- She consistently uses singular and plural forms correctly, with little exception
- She can recite a multitude of nursery rhymes (though not very clear on the words, moreso the tune)
- Everytime we get home from having left the house, the first two minutes are filled with her repeating where we went, what we did, and how we are now home
- She's an extrovert, and she's starting to hold conversations with complete strangers. They generally look at her like she's crazy, because she decides on the oddest things to tell them, like how Heidi and Dexter sleep on the couch (our cats), or that she went to the big playground with Max and Emmett and it was big and she went down the slide, and she fell, and it was big.....blah, blah, blah. She gets excited talking to strangers, so this is actually when it's most difficult to understand her, hence the strange looks and blank stares, or manufactured replies ("Oh my!" "Really?" "Wow..")
- We have about 5 instances similar to the orange cart example each day. Whoops!
I absolutely love being able to hold a full conversation with my daughter. I only wish I'd done a better job of keeping track of the truly hilarious things that have come out of her mouth!