Sunday, 27 May 2012

Bringing up baby: what is he thinking?

Atilla has been introduced to spoken English, spoken Mandarin, spoken Teo Chew, New Zealand Sign Language. He has been exposed to spoken Swedish, spoken and written Maori.

As caregivers, Dad and I have been paying attention to his body language too - indications of fatigue, readiness to sleep, to poop.

All this has been a huge learning curve, possibly harder for Dad and me than for Atilla. He's always learning, but me and Dad are mostly recalling what we know. It ain't what you got, but how you use it.

I've been reading up on developmental stages of toddlers to find out what to expect.


Today I observed another developmental milestone in Atilla. Possibly he had always had it, but I hadn't noticed. He has begun to combine two words together, to communicate a concept.

At Devil's Dyke, on our way back to the car, I had a devil of a time to convince young sir to stay away from the poisonous cow parsley, to stay away from the stinging nettles, to not run downhill into the semi-vertical valley of the Dyke. Wee thing didn't understand why he was brought to this field of fun if he wasn't to be doing all that.

As I bodily hauled him to my shoulder, I desperately pointed to the one and only dog I could spot. I assumed it was a dog - with my myopia, it was really a brown and white moving smudge.

"Dooug?" Atilla asked. I had his attention.

"Yes, dog right there," I waved at the general direction. The dog was still a moving target, hidden by the crest of the steep hill.

"Dooug?" he said, waving his hands.

"Yes, dog."

"Dooug?" he said, repeating his wave in the 'where' sign.

"Oh. Over there." I pointed with my finger this time. His focus sharpened on the dog.


This afternoon the word was "ball". Combined with the interrogative 'where' sign.

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