Thursday, December 09, 2010

Use your words

So it was like any other evening, driving home after picking Sophie up from daycare. I was singing "Wheels on the Bus" (which she's been making us sing over and over again these past few days) when I pulled into our parking lot. And then it happened.

Sophie said "home".

And when I stopped the car and opened the door to take her out, she said "light" and pointed to the light in the car as it came on. I thought they were both flukes but as we were walked towards the house, Sophie pointed to our door and said "Mama, home" and "light", now pointing to the light at our doorway. OK, so not flukes.

I started keeping a list of words that Sophie knows (and can say) and at 16-months exactly today, it's like I'm adding new words everyday. It's a conservative list-- or at least I'm trying to make sure it is so I don't inflate her vocabulary-- i.e. these are words we know for a fact she can say and have heard her repeat enough times and in the right context to show that she knows the meaning of.

Dada
Mama
hi
bye
water
Elmo
doh-doh
(doll)
ball
flower
dog + oo oo!
to distinguish it from...
duck
more
milk
walk
book
read
hold
no
night night
bah-bah
(抱抱 ("bao bao", which is "carry" or "embrace" in Chinese)
baby
ah-pool
(apple)
see you
tan-tyou
(thank you)
yiyi (what she calls my sisters)
I woo oo (I love you)
pea (please)
bock (block)
pee-a-boo (peek-a-boo)
hah-lo (hello)
ah-den (all done)
hat
told
(cold)
pah (puff)
sit
watch
tow
(throw)
shoe
light
hom
e

And these are just examples of her expressive vocabulary- I'm assuming her receptive vocabulary (words she understands but can't produce) is also growing day by day. It's such a delight hearing her talk-- both the real words and the rest of her jabbering that's just as wonderful. It's almost like communicating with a real person now- she can tell us what she wants, what she doesn't, when she wants more of something, when she's done with what she's doing, and most importantly, she's also using words (and gestures) to show emotion, like joy, love, anger.

Of course, we don't understand everything that Sophie says but we try our hardest to take the time to watch, listen, and respond to her regardless. I think it makes her feel like she's a good communicator and reinforces her self esteem by letting her know that she's worth listening and paying attention to.

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