Fifty words - a few too many

Fifty words - a few too many

As some of you may know from following the tweets, my son (with the help of his mother) has called several times while away.  And it brings up an interesting topic—the conversations of two-year-olds.  It’s a curious time during which a child knows what they want to say, but aren’t necessarily capable of saying it.  Thus the general fits and temper tantrums that have contributed to the phrasing of “the terrible two’s”. 

Doctors (such as my son’s pediatrician) say that at the age of two, children should have a vocabulary of at least fifty words.  Some books and sites even suggest one-hundred.  When you think about it, that’s a lot of words.  But where do they all come from?  Sure, many come from interactions with parents, family, and friends.   My son learned the French words for Grandma and Grandpa from my parents who wanted to be called by them (Memere’ for Grandma, Pepere’ for Grandpa).  He also calls my girlfriend Pepere’; mainly because she laughed one day when he called her, and everything else, Pepere’—so it stuck.

But what’s most fascinating is how phrases like “I want”, “mine”, and “my turn” quickly accompanied “no” in his daily usage.  These weren’t things we said.  And so it stands to reason that these came from elsewhere.   A quick and easy culprit was television.  Although not on often at our home, we had to make sure that we screened what was on and mainly watched DVD’s of known content.  Our home wasn’t alone.  We also collaborated with his mom, who noticed him parroting things directly from the T.V. and so started a similar effort.  Another large contributor was from his observation of the interactions with other children and families.  You could see him absorb it like a sponge and look on with keen intrigue.  And so now begins a difficult task of not only filtering what he hears and says, but swaying his actions from the negative interactions he observes—I’m excited…  can you hear the sarcasm in those words?  As my Mom and Dad would say, “Welcome to parenting…”