Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Talk To Me

My son Ryan is reaching the age where he can both understand and speak quite a few words. It opens up a whole world of communication between the two of us. Often, this communication is very helpful. For example, when he’s starting to feel sleepy and he’s ready for a nap, either I’ll ask him if he’s “ready to go up?” and he’ll start up the stairs toward his room, or he’ll announce “up, up, up!” to let me know it’s naptime.

Sometimes it’s helpful but a bit embarrassing. When he has a dirty diaper, he’s taken to proclaiming, “Bum!” to let me know. Helpful, but embarrassing, at least in public. And, being a boy, of course another of his new favorite words is “pee”, which he uses to point out the toilet every time he walks past a bathroom, but which he also uses to announce to anyone in the house whenever Mommy goes to use the bathroom. It’s not so bad when Daddy is the only other one home, but when we have guests it becomes a bit of an overshare.

Sometimes his newfound conversational skills are just the tiniest bit too limited. Every afternoon as I bring him downstairs from his nap, as soon as he sees the front door he requests, “Ball! Ball! Ball?” and then gets frustrated because he doesn’t understand my explanation of “after lunch” or “first we have to put your socks and shoes on”. I’m hoping that he’ll begin to understand the words “wait” and “later” very soon, but for now the poor kid gets apoplectic trying to convince me to take him outside to play ball when all I want to do is put on his shoes before we go outside.

But even with his conversational limitations, the fact that we now have give-and-take conversations where we both obviously understand each other is amazing to me. He happily complies with requests for a kiss or a hug, or to bring me a toy, or to throw something in the trash, or to show something to Daddy. Instead of merely pointing and grunting when he wants something, he can now often specifically ask for something that’s out of reach, like a book or a ball or a teddy bear or a pillow. He’ll even pick out a video by the picture on the cover and bring it to one of us, telling us which one it is by announcing “Pooh!” or roaring like the Lion King or making a monkey noise like King Louie in the Jungle Book.

But I’d better cut this entry short – I hear a small voice from the other room announcing, “uh-oh”…

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