Parents of toddlers master a patois spoken by a population of one. We come to understand the various mixtures of missing consonants or inappropriate vowels. Then repeat back to the one the correct pronunciation.
A section of the brain is devoted to tracking how they use the phonemes. Then mapping that to meaning. Basically it is like learning an almost foreign language. The usage is similar. The grammar is simpler though growing more complex over time.
Fleur spoke her first sentence. She wanted to make sure that it was a day where we would all stay home. She has really been using “home” quite a bit whether we are there or not. Usually she will ask whether each person on the list of family members are going to be home. For the week that my mother stayed with us for Christmas, she was included in the list of people.
This repetition on “home” seems likely tied to the disruption daycare has played on her. She seems to have done well at daycare other than some frustration at dropoff and pickup. Her vocabulary has exploded. She has gone from being a passive listener of books to being an active participant wanting to turn the pages and point at interesting things on the pages. Still, she doesn’t like being left there.
I think home really means getting to stay with us. Even if it is just me. And she learned it from The Littlest Family’s Big Day where the big payoff page is a fold out with HOME on a banner. We read it loud and emphasize the word. And she loves it so much.
It seems like home is one of her first words because being there is so very important to her. She needs to hear that we are going there to be happy about being where we are. It has me thinking about language acquisition may be dependent on desire. The things that are most important to her are the words she is going to pick up earliest.
It is embarrassing how often I invoke Baby Shark. The simplicity of it makes it easy to use. But, kids recognize it. And Fleur smiles for it.
Apparently, protesters in Beirut sung it to a toddler upset about demonstrations.
Because it works.