Sunday, December 30, 2007


Let me get it out of the way and say it – yes, I’m still obsessing a little over that stay-at-home mom of five I met a few weeks back in the library (see the Nov. 15 “Comparison Shopping” posting for more). I don’t know why that encounter has nagged me so much, except for the fact that I walked away feeling like a completely incompetent mother.

But something that woman said while explaining to me how her two-year-old daughter has been able to speak in complete sentences for “a while” came back to me this week. And as much as I really do hate to give her credit, I think she might be right.

See, during my parent’s visit this week, Ladybug started talking in full sentences. “Here’s your glasses,” she said to my father. “I did poo-poo,” she informed me while I was washing her hands. “Smile! Say cheese!” she’d say to my mom as she pretended to take her picture. But prior to their arrival, Ladybug was content to point at what she wanted or to give one-word commands, most likely with words she made up.

“My oldest was like that,” the mom of five said to me when I shared our experience. “That’s because he didn’t have to ask for anything. My husband and I always knew what he wanted. But with four older brothers and sisters, she (the two-year-old) has to talk to make herself heard.”

That made sense to me after my parents left and Ladybug returned to her one-word statements. Ladybug knows that my husband and I understand what she means even if we don’t understand always what she says. My parents, on the other hand, would look at us with a puzzled look and ask for a translation. But we weren’t always immediately at hand, and Ladybug was forced to fend for herself. Thus, the full sentences started.

So in the few days my parents have been gone, we’ve been using their unintentional technique. We wait for Ladybug to tell us what she wants. Maybe it’s just wishful thinking on my part, but it does seem to be working. She's "talking" so much more that sometimes we need a translation.


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