It’s more than just a milestone, in my opinion. It’s a whole lot of heart-melting moments filled with immense joy. I think that after your little one has mastered walking, the other thing we (parents) will really look forward to is his/her first words.
Some people know the exact first word (and when I say this I immediately think of Meet the Fockers when Ben Stiller‘s baby’s first words were a** hole), but with Mau I am not quite certain what was his very first word as it seems that I got home from work one day and in between the baby babble he inserted a flurry of words.
I’d say it began around the time we got him the ‘Bath time Peek-a-Boo‘ book because when we woke up the next morning-after reading it to him the previous evening- he proudly walked up to his father and went through the book saying “Peek-a-Boo” at all the right places. It has moved on from just that one word now to lots of words here and there that include saying, “and me” when he wants to have a go at something. He can also say “mummy” and “daddy” which he initially said with an accent. He would stress the ‘y’ at the end and sort of pull it so it came off as if he was saying the words with an English accent. It’s not as obvious now as it was a few weeks ago, though. I imagined it was from watching too much BBC’s Cbeebies or maybe from hanging out with Lisa who is actually a British national by birth (only she doesn’t speak this way-just yet-so…). I digress.
A few days ago I put up a status update on Facebook:
Kamau to Patricia Mugeke, “mummy! Mummy! See!” *Runs around the living room waiting for her to cheer him on*
Kamau to me, *momentary look of confusion as to what title to use and he figures, “Oh! what the heck!”* “See!”
We are definitely at the imitation stage and I think right now Kamau is quite impressionable and he realizes that by using a word or a gesture he can communicate and so will repeat words we use daily. His greatest influence is, without a doubt, Lisa and beyond just looking up to her it’s also about that beautiful bond they have. Just yesterday she told me, “Talale, every time Kamau sees me he gives me a hug and pats my back.” You can see how, then, he will easily do as Lisa says and does so right now Patty is “mummy” which is what he hears Lisa call her. He’ll call me “Mama” when I get home and knows Richard is “Baba” or “daddy” because I’ll tell him to say it, but whenever Patty is around she’s mummy and that’s OK. Based on this (and from the fact that Lisa called her mummy “Mama Lisa” for a while, among other similar cases I’ve heard about) I expect he’ll probably call me Talale. It’s all about what he hears other people say right now (saying this in the event any new mummy that read my update may have wondered where I was coming from).
I bought him a pair of socks the other day that have a teddy bear on them and Cate, his nanny, whose name he can say perfectly and calls out to her whenever he wants her attention, taught him to say “baby.” Now he has it in his mind that teddy bears are given the title “baby.” He will point at his book, ‘Ted In a Red Bed,’ and say (cue English accent), “baby!” While watching Winnie The Pooh, he looked at me and while pointing at the screen said, “baby!”
We’re constantly on the move (you’ll be amazed the level of freedom the ability to walk grants your child) and the appropriate hand gesture along with something that sounds like “a’ala a’ala” means that we’re never in one spot for too long.
Maybe I should sign us up for some secret service job seeing that constant movement means we would be difficult to track. He also understands that to move around we need shoes and will walk us to the shoe racks and instruct me to put my “soes” on. I didn’t misspell it, in case you’re wondering, we just don’t have the “sh” sound in our vocabulary yet
If you’re raising a girl, I am happy to report that I am raising a very polite gentleman. He says “thank you” at every turn. The only thing we haven’t learned is that sometimes we’re on the receiving end of the “thank you” which means we say “kekuu” even when we’re the ones meant to expect it. Regardless, we’re very polite.
I hear the stage we’re in is often referred to as the ‘language explosion’ and I am really enjoying watching him learn new words each day. I feel like every evening he’ll say something new that I hadn’t heard the previous evening. I also think that with each day, our enunciation of words is catching up with our understanding so that if it’s a word he previously would say just because he heard it said, he is realizing it means something and is learning to use words in their correct settings.
It still melts my heart when he says, “bye-bye” to people. Being one of the very first words he learned, he is very confident at it and waves as he says it. When I find him behind the curtain as we play hide and seek (finding him is easy because as I count he’s counting-his rendition anyway- just as loudly with me), he is reduced to a fit of giggles and laughter and will, on occasion, clutch his cheeks and say, “uh-oh!” I love that he will nod as I talk to him and it doesn’t matter that he may be doing that just because he’s seen people doing it as they converse. I am enjoying our milestone and as much as our conversations are mainly one-sided will keep talking, and singing, and reading, so we can keep working on our growing vocabulary.