Shape Sounds and Have a Chat

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No doubt you’ve been talking to your baby from the start. Having full conversations and exposing babies to the words and rhythm of conversation helps immensely with language development. But now there’s an exciting new development; Veronika isn’t just babbling nonsense, she’s saying real words back.

My soon-to-be one year old has 3 words officially under her belt. Her first word is “cat”.

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She pronounces it more like “dat” but there’s no mistaking what she means; she says it whenever our cat walks by, or when she presses the cat button that meows on her musical piano, or when holding a toy cat.

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She’s also just started making a “ffff” sound when I say “woof” or she hears it on her toys. Listen for these moments, being aware of the word your baby is trying to shape or say.

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Her second word was diaper. She started signing this word to me during diaper changes. I realized she also thinks it means having your pants off in general on the day I tried on a new pair of jeans. Seeing my pants come off, she dropped her toy and signed diaper and said “dai!” in glee. I guess mommy needed a change, to! Again, be in tune with what your baby is saying, as the words won’t quite be like yours yet. I get down at eye level and sign and say “diaper” back to her so she can practice further.

Finally, she signs “bus” and says “ba” whenever the bus brings big brother home from school. Knowing the sign for bus helps me understand that’s what she means, to differentiate from the thousands of other words that start with “ba”. But there’s no mistaking her little pull-down of the arm (like you’re pulling a bus chain for the next stop).

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She also signed this when she saw the UPS truck in town, so we had our next chat about a new word: Truck!

Be on the alert for these signs of early language. “All done” is more of a “ahda”, but in context I can understand it.

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I chatted with her about what she might want instead, and we settled on banana.

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I can’t wait to see what word she learns next!


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