Monday, August 4, 2008

Look, Ma! Pre-Words?

Westley has been talking to me for a while. His sing-song babble sometimes has inflection like real speech, leading me to attempt to translate.


"Gahdablahda? You think? Maybe we should get Daddy a dog."

It's cool to think that he's trying to communicate with me, but it's crazy to think that he has any actual "words." Except that on Saturday, he woke up from his nap, looked squarely at me, and said, "Ma." Just "ma." Not "mamamamadahblahblah." My mother who was there to witness the event (Westley was napping on her) swears that he was saying "Mama."

I'm not so sure about this. In fact, I think that because my mother just happens to be a developmental psychologist who just happens to be interested in language acquisition, she might be a little too eager to hear words where there's just vocal experimenting. Westley was just a few weeks old when I decided to stop consulting Dr. Google on developmental milestones and norms, but I do seem to recall something about "pre-words" showing up around the first birthday, ten months at the earliest. Then again, my mother usually knows what she's talking about, especially where her professional field is concerned.

Honestly, I'd be more willing to write off the "Ma" thing if my mother weren't an expert in her field. On the other hand, I haven't heard him do it since that one time two days ago. My mother, however, claims that she heard two more pre-words today. At one point, Westley slithered across the floor to her, craned his neck up to see her, and said, "uh." "Uppity?" she asked him (which is what I say when I pick him up, because I like it better than plain old "up" or the gawd-awful "uppy") and put her arms out as though to pick him up, and Westley beamed. And later today, apparently he said "meh" for "milk."

I'm fully convinced that Westley is trying to communicate. He already does a pretty good job of getting his point across with his assorted cries and noises. But it seems impossible that he would actually be forming the beginnings of words. It's not possible. Is it?

I'll be keeping an ear out. A very skeptical, slightly-freaked-out-at-the-idea-of-what-if? ear.


1 comment:

Liesl said...

Oh yeah, that's the way verbal skills first present themselves. He is indeed beginning to talk, and it's not too early. Just like any other skill, babies vary tremendously in when they hit certain milestones. Liam had sentences at 15 months; Kieran has the more usual 9-10 single words.