Wednesday, June 25, 2008

he's learning to talk

His eyes are bursting with a story locked inside. He looks at me with wide intensity, and his body fights against the barriers of unlearned speech. "Mama! Brrrrrrrrrrrmmmmmmmmm! Bampa!!"
"Grandpa took you for a ride on the tractor??" I ask.
"Dah!!" He nods excitedly, relief and joy that his story is told.

I wonder how much more Peanut Butter wants to say...details he would add if he knew how to articulate them. Maybe, since he's all boy, he wouldn't elaborate if he could; the bare facts are all he cares to discuss. But his enthusiasm and body language are eloquent about the passions that stir him. Tractors. Motorcycles. Horses, cows, pigs, and chickens. And puppies.

He's 22 months, and just these days his vocabulary is exploding. Yesterday he learned "moose" at the wildlife park we visited. "Can you say, 'moose'?" I asked. He shook his head. "Mmm-mm." But a few minutes later he was saying it. "Mooosh. Mooosh." I talk to him like I do to Christopher Robin, and he understands it all. But his mouth doesn't know how to make the sounds. He's frustrated by the barrier to his communication, and he's slowly, painfully learning to scale the wall of vocabulary so he can tell what's on his mind. Just nouns now. Lots and lots of sound effects help him tell his stories. And pointing. But the joy he feels when I understand propels him to keep learning.

Sometimes, unexpectedly, a new word will come out clear and intelligible, unintentionally. Then I won't hear it again. It's like his subconscious knows more about how speech is done than his conscious mind. He doesn't know how to make himself form a word, even though he can.

I'm guessing speech therapy would speed the process a little, but I'm not concerned enough for that. He's learning so quickly now I'm content to battle it out together, him and me, and Daddy and Christopher Robin, too.

For months Christopher Robin has entertained himself by asking, "Can you say, 'vacuum', Peanut Butter?"
"Yes! Good job!! You said, 'vacuum'! Can you say, 'calculator?'"
"Can you say, 'calculator', Peanut Butter?"

He knows his limits.

For a long time I've wondered what he will sound like when he talks to me. I'm starting to know.

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