I keep forgetting that Hannah is going to be two soon. Her speech is more delayed than Liam’s was, hence I feel like she is still a baby-baby. But of course the circumstances were different – Liam was forced to grow up because Hannah came along when he was just a wee tiny boy. He had no choice but to swim, or be left to sink! Hence, we had ourselves a very advanced two year old in Liam. His speech often left me speechless – this kid could TALK, his vocabulary was vast and his pronunciation was almost perfect. He went from baby babble to pretty good English really quickly. I guess I expected the same from Hannah, more so because she had her brother to learn from and mimic. However, these last few weeks have been tough for Missy; she gets so incredibly frustrated when she cannot express herself because the words are just not there OR the words are there but I just can’t understand them! I get frustrated because she thinks that by screaming and jumping up and down, I may be able to understand her better – but all that does is escalate everyone’s frustration! I don’t want her to grow up, I love her at this age, but I do wish that her speech would pick up just a little – not for me – but to help ease her frustration.
The other important fact to consider is that Liam went to school from 18 months. I do believe that this aided his speech development because other than nap time, pre-school is one song after the other, one game after the other and interacting with babies and your teachers all day long. This HAS to have some impact on your speech development surely? Hannah stays at home with Zoleka, and although I encourage Zoleka to read with her, play her DVDs and talk to her about everything she is doing so that Hannah starts to grasp all these things, I can guarantee that when Zoleka is cleaning the toilets or washing the 100th sippy cup for the day, that the last thing she wants to do is engage in baby talk with Hannah. So there are probably some quiet hours in the day when Hannah isn’t stimulated, which is fine, because this has taught her to play happily on her own too and even then, she babbles CONSTANTLY too herself, and loves talking to herself in the mirror. She understands well, and I think that at this stage, this is more important than the words which are coming out of her mouth. She also reads tone very well and understands the difference between happy, cross or sad voice.
Her vocabulary is very good, she knows well over 30 words, but her pronunciation sucks. Ha! Awter for water, mikky for milky, bed for bread, sues for shoes, goggy for doggy, mukky for monkey, teet for teeth, kaai for cry, seep for sleep – to mention a few. She hits the nail on the head for other words like botty, sore, car, see, hair, luff (love). She even has her own words for certain items; words which are completely unrelated to what the item actually is like asdfk&^ for noodles. I seriously cannot even spell what she says for noodles and it took us may frustrated hours trying to figure out what she wanted. They both love Two Minute Noodles, probably because I feed it to them whenever I am lazy to cook – which is often, so she asks for them often! Boy, was it hard to understand what she meant. When she has a word-malfunction like this, we will walk around the house, letting her point out things, or asking if she means this or that, just to get to the bottom of what she wants. She will yell in frustration every time we point at the wrong thing! So at least we have discovered that asdfk&^ is noodles.
Sometimes she will ask me a question in German (well that’s what it sounds like) and she will look expectantly at me with her big eyes. I will tread lightly and start with a “yes my baby” and if she responds with a smile and a nod, I know I have answered correctly. Sometimes I don’t answer correctly and she yells her request back at me and I have to dig deeper to try and figure out what she is saying. If we’re watching tv I’ll say something like “yes, Jake is a pirate” and wait to see her reaction. Or if we’re in the car I’ll say “yes, that truck is big hey” and wait for her response. Most times she is happy with my answer, but I suspect she just agrees because she feels sorry for me – how can I NOT understand her “English?”
Liam doesn’t have any problem understanding Hannah, so I often have to use him as a translator. She has moved from calling him Leelee to calling him Leeeeum, and I am now Mum and Dad is Dud. Unless she wants something and is trying to twist my arm, in which case I am Muummeeeeeee. She can hum the theme tune to most of the Disney Junior programmes, and her favourite word comes from Little Einsteins: BLAST OFF! Although she screams BAAARFF! Which has a totally different meaning, now doesn’t it.
I love this stage when she tries to say everything we say; her father spends hours making fun of her, forcing her to say words that she obviously can’t but still tries, with hilarious results. She finds it funny when he laughs, and she laughs too. My MOST favourite thing is that she now tells me she luffs me unprompted, and not because I said it first. She just toddles over and grabs my thigh and wraps her cute chubby baby arms around my leg and says “luff youuuuu” and giggles as she runs off. I listen to Liam now, speaking perfect English, using words that sometimes make me do a double take, as in “wow, did he just say that” and I miss his baby babble. Hannah will be there one day, and I will no longer be able to get away with saying words like milky or botty or nana or poopoo without sounding like I, myself, have a speech impediment.
Before I know it, Hannah will be telling me my fortune about how I should knock on her room door before I enter, and mocking my mom jeans, so for now, we will sign language ourselves through this maze, lost in translation, but luffing it.