Wednesday, January 02, 2008

From the mouths of, etc.

Iyyar has realized the utility of words. I think up until now he regarded them as something of a party trick, with which to occasionally delight a particularly fortunate parent. He's been saying a little bit more here and there: "doh pih" for "drop it," "ball," "cat," "car," "cheese," etc. This past week, he said "blankie" ("gahgee!") for the first time. And then a couple days ago, he was sitting morosely on the bedroom floor, looking sadly at the blankies that I'd folded in his crib too far from the accessible edge for him to pull through the bars. "Gahgee," he mourned. "Gahgee."

"Do you want a blankie?" I asked him. He looked startled. I was sitting on the floor and didn't want to get up, so I reached behind me and pulled a clean blankie--with a nice clean tasty tag on which to suck--out of the drawer, and handed it to him.

You could practically see the light bulb switch on. Heeeeyyyy. That was a neat trick. I said I wanted a blankie and like magic she gave me one. Why didn't anyone tell me I could do that?

* * *

"Thank you" was one of Barak's first words. He said "ta tam," which Israelis heard, naturally, as "toda" and Hungarians heard as "koszonom." Iyyar says "gay goo," which is, if reports are accurate, apparently what I myself said as a baby. It was, not surprisingly, my first word. Now that Iyyar has worked out that he is more likely to get things by saying "please," snack time is replete with "peess!" and "gay goo!" and "shee! shee!" ("cheese!") Yesterday (did I blog this already?) he was sitting in his high chair, nobody was really paying attention to him, and suddenly MHH and I heard, clear as a bell, "All done now." We both gaped. Then we stared at each other. "Did he really say that?" Judging by the look on his face, yes, he did.

And now that he's figured out that words let him communicate what he wants, he's started using them a whole lot more. Instead of shaking the gate to the kitchen to communicate the desire for a snack, he stands there shaking the gate caroling, "ungee! ungee! openih!" I'm HUNGRY, Imma, that's why I need you to OPEN THE GATE!"

* * *

Barak, of course, has lots and lots of words, and I try very hard to encourage him to use words and not behavior to express what he's feeling. "Barak, if you need attention, come tell me you need attention. Throwing toys and doing things you're not supposed to do isn't a good way to get attention. Tell me you need attention and I'll try to pay attention to you, okay?"

Tonight, I got home late with Iyyar from the allergist (more on this later) and MHH was home with Barak. I gave Iyyar dinner, busted out the new pajamas I got them from the LL Bean sale (blue with white polar bears, very cute) and Barak was totally delighted to match Iyyar. He danced around for a while, spinning on one foot. "Look, Imma! I can do a trick! I can do dis!" [Demonstrates one-footed spinning.] "Look!" Eventually we got both of them into bed--they've B"H been doing really well with that lately--and Abba and I repaired to the kitchen, for me to recover from the miles-long arctic trek with jogging stroller. Fifteen minutes later, we heard a familiar wail.


"Barak, if you need me, you don't need to yell. Come tell me what you need." The door opened and a squinting little boy in polar bear pajamas peeked his nose out. "Imma, I need you to pay attention to me."

What could I say? "Okay, come over here and sit in my lap and I'll cuddle you a little bit." Really I should have gone into his room, but I was too tired to get up. He came out into the kitchen and climbed into my lap, head snuggled into my shoulder. "I needed some attention, Imma. I didn't have enough attention today." Pause. Sigh. "I had a long and crazy day today. That's why I need some attention now." Sounds like a good enough reason to me.


miriamp said...

Watching the little lightbulbs go on is absolutely my favorite part of raising children. Although the one above a baby's head who just discovered something dangerous like jumping or climbing is a little scary. The use of words is a lot better. ;-)

Alisha said...

I love the fact that you're teaching your children to recognize the emotional needs behind their behavior. Instead of just teaching them what is and is not acceptable to do, or even how to express themselves better, it sounds like you're really helping them understand what it is they're trying to express. That's fantastic.