Saturday, May 23, 2009

Bird is the word. . .

I recently got into a discussion with a fellow blogger about toddler words. It got me thinking about the whole words thing. Many people have asked what Skippy Jr's first word was. My answer is normally "define word." Most resources I've seen exclude "mama" and "dada" as words so there goes the obvious. And even at almost 19 months I don't know that I'd consider anything my son says to be real words.

I did read once that a "word" is a sound he makes (or I guess a sign) that you can tell what he means. However, if we aren't around, someone new is watching him, they won't know what he means so where does it become words?

To that end, here are a few things my son says that I don't count as words.
  • He signs "eat" and "more," his first signs, but he has yet to say either word. He uses them to communicate but doesn't say them. His new signs (help, please, bed) are accompanied by sounds, not clear sounds, but I guess I can count them.
  • When he sees a monkey he scratches his armpits and goes "ooh ooh ee ee." We know that is how he says monkey, but I wouldn't count that as a word. Nor would I count when he put his hand on his nose, tilts his head back, and squeals to say "elephant."
  • He has started calling his diaper "budgie." We have no idea why. He used to say "die-pah" and then switched to "budgie." No point.
  • He loves the Eric Hutchenson song "Rock and Roll." It's on the radio a lot and my wife has the CD in her car. He asks to hear it often. He'll point to the radio and say "rock." But the radio is not a rock and if you show him a rock he doesn't know what it is. I don't really count that.
  • Of course I already mentioned "mama" and "dada." Also "paw-paw" and "maw-maw." All words I don't count.

Maybe I'm being to hard on him. He's able to communicate his wants and needs to me and my wife, which is all that really matters right? Does it matter which was first or how many he has? He is learning fast, fast enough for me anyway.


girl said...

My Drew is almost two and while he speaks more then my oldest son, he's only got a handful of "real" words.

I gave up on listening to the experts long ago.

This was kind of a pointless comment.

caramama said...

I think you are being too hard on him! My pediatrician said that any sound used over to mean the same thing is a word. This was specifically in reference to the noises animals make, which my girl would do when you pointed to an animal. The ped counted all of those as words. Mama and dada should totally count.

Either way, you're child is totally a super genius. ;-)

caramama said...

Um, I swear I typed "your" not "you're." Blogger just messed it up.