Archive for the 'Deciphering baby talk' Category

“Who’s this?” “Iola.”

December 7, 2010

Andrew Hicks

2-year-old Sarah has reached the point where, if I name every character and object on the inside flap of her Sesame Street books, she can point it out from the lineup. It’s like a 20-person Hollywood Squares amalgam of the usual PBS Muppets – Cookie Monster, Bert, Big Bird – plus A-listers of the toddler vocabulary like book, shoes, truck, flower, etc. Sarah has it down pat. There’s nowhere to go but up for this girl. Tomorrow we start studying my framed print of the cast of “Mama’s Family” from the 1989-90 season. Which was a very good year for Mama and the family.

ME: Who’s this?
SARAH: Vinton
ME: And who’s this?
SARAH: Iola.
ME: And who’s this?
SARAH: Naomi. Trashy.
ME: Where’d you learn that word?

She’s getting really good at naming and pointing to parts of the face and upper body, too. Hair, teeth, eyebrows, forehead. She counted ten noses on me this morning. This little girl thinks way-y-y-y outside the box. As my Facebook buddy Open Mike remarked, “To quote the over-quoted old lady from the diner scene in When Harry Met Sally, ‘I’ll have what she’s having.'”

Sarah’s speech patterns are progressing at an ever-quicker rate, too. She’s stringing together short sentences and listening a lot better to what her mom and I tell her. We’re at a ratio now of probably three real words to every gibberish word. Sometimes what’s what is a kind of toss-up.

Like, either I was having problems understanding her earlier today, or my 2 year old’s new favorite person to talk about is Sanjay Gupta. I tried to put her reference in context: “You mean Sanjay Gupta the renowned neurosurgeon and CNN correspondent who writes those delightful but insightful medical features in Parade magazine?”

She said, “Kipper? More Kipper? More Kipper? Kipper, daddy?”


Sarah pauses before opening birthday presents earlier this month.