Thursday, November 4, 2010


Yesterday was a big day here in the Oscarelli household.  Yesterday marked the very first time in the history of his entire life that Miles William responded to me in the affirmative.  I asked him if he wanted a snack, and he said, "Yeah." And then I said, "Did you just say 'Yeah?'" and Miles slapped on his devilish grin and said, "Yeah!" and then I kissed his cute little face about a thousand times and tickled his belly until he was red with laughter.

And then I got him a snack.


I realize you may be thinking, "Isn't six-weeks shy of two-years-old a bit late to be saying 'yes' or a variation of 'yes?'"

The answer is no, or I don't know, or I don't care.  I have no concerns about the speed of Miles William's speech and language development.  He's been totally on par developmentally.  At just under two, has 50 to 75 words; can follow directions; identify shapes and animals in pictures; makes multiple animal sounds; has been using two word phrases for a couple of months; and just last week started saying full three and four word phrases.  Miles does not/has never talked as much or as articulately as Oscar, but Oscar is a little above the curve as far as verbal skills and I think Miles is firmly in the middle.

So why no "yes?"  I don't know.  Prior to yesterday, to convey the idea of "yes," Miles would say "No!" emphatically while smiling.  He's been doing this consistently for like three or four months.  I don't think he was being contrary, I think he just thought "no" was the standard response to question, "Do you want X?" and by smiling, he'd indicate when the "x" was correct.  Almost like he thought that attitude was the key component to his response.  This smiling no worked has worked so well for so long, I think he just didn't feel the need to say "yes." Why would he?  He was getting what he wanted.

Watching kids acquire language is by far one of my favorite parts of parenting, especially after having a second child and seeing how differently language acquisition has been for each boy.  Oscar was always very precise.  Often when he learned a new word, he'd repeat it back and forth with me until he had the pronunciation correct.  As a result, he's had almost none of the jargon you normally see in a toddler/preschooler.  He's also been interested in things like, when to use could, would, or should; and sentence structure.  It is also really common for Oscar ask what words mean, and to keep asking until he figures out how to use the word correctly.

Miles has been different.  His speech acquisition has been more sudden, and he has lots of jargon.  People who are around him a lot can understand him, but to strangers his speech sounds like nonsense.  Oscar actually understands Miles the best and often translates for his little brother.  I've recently noticed his words.taking more form; "pah-see-toe" (Popsicle) is becoming "pah-sit-al" and "skee-ee" (scary) is becoming "sca-dee."

While the process of acquiring speech has felt longer with Miles, it all seems to happen at once.  Like he went from five words to 20 in a day, or something, but not until he was 20 months.  I almost think he has a lot more words than he says out loud and he's holding them in so that when he finally does say them they have maximum impact.  For example, last week, he said, "I sit in wagon with Xaiver." Up until that point, he'd only been using two or three word phrases and then BAM!  Six!  Describing an action!  And yesterday he said to me, "I see a monster truck.  It's big." A two sentence mini conversation.  Where'd that come from?  And as soon as he started doing these things he does them all the time.

My boys are still young so I still have several more year to watch them learn language.  I love it.  You can almost see the gears in their little heads turning as they figure things out, put things together.  And language is just the beginning.  Nelson and I are both big science nerds, so I was thinking how cool it's going to be when they start learning about physics and chemistry and biology.  They are just going to keep learning and learning and learning.  It makes you realize that the human brain is really amazing.

What do you love watching your kids learn and/or do?  What are you looking forward to wasting them learn as they get older?


VandyJ said...

I have noticed the difference between Turbo's language acquisition and Bruiser's. Bruiser is much slower to talk than Turbo was, he understands way more than he says, he babbles what we call Baby Swahili, but says relatively few real words. He gets his point across, but it can be frustrating on both sides. But he uses more words every day, so I'm not really worried about him.

Amanda said...

Big fan of this post! (I'm a speech-language pathologist, so this is right up my alley.) Language milestones are my favorite too. My little one is only 16 months, but I think she's going to be a lot like Miles. The head shake is far more useful to her than the nod. Protest is always more powerful than acquiescence!
Oscar sounds like what I call a "language kid" - he gets it, he enjoys it, and he likes learning about it. And he's already thinking metalinguistically! A speech-language pathologist in the making! :)

Keely said...

Xander was the same, he was at a two-word-sentence plateau for months and then just started speaking conversationally one day. It was bizarre.

My favorite part right now is watching his imagination. He personifies everything, from his stuffed animals to his dinner noodles. He rarely plays with things the way they're 'supposed' to be played with, and he has imaginary friends. It's awesome.

Patty O. said...

That's great!

I'm with you: language development is fascinating to me. Maybe it's because my oldest was pretty delayed, so I watch my younger two in amazement. I mean, with Danny, we had to practically beat a new word into his head for months before he picked it up. Never did he say something and I wondered where he picked it up (at least not until he was much, much older). With my daughter and younger son, it's been amazing to see how language develops in neurotypical kids. Or at least in these two NT kids, because each kid is so different.

Also, I feel like I get more of a glimpse into who my kids are when they say things. It's a way to get to know them for me, if that makes sense.

Mrsbear said...

It is so exciting to watch. Each of my kids has been so different too. My second oldest has always struggled to find the precise word for what she wants to say, often holding back, while my oldest used whatever was at her disposal, correctly or not.

I'm trying to soak it all in with the youngest. There's so much he wants to say, but he still gets hung up on the pronunciation at times. When he finally returned an "I love you" I was ecstatic.

Yay for affirmatives.

Casey said...

God, I love their new words. Elliot is a little wiseguy, she cracks me up daily with her little phrases. And Graham is such a thinker that I can sometimes see steam coming out of his little ears.