Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Babies ... Are Listening!

Words continue to tumble out of Munchkin, more and more and more words: jacket! hat! climb! on! off! cheese! sit! dragon! tickle! I wrote in my last post that I was amazed at her new capacity to speak--that her receptive language was good, but her ability and willingness to talk was new.


All of a sudden, Pynchon and I noticed nervously over the weekend, it has become abundantly clear that Munchkin is actively listening when we talk. Not just when we talk to her, but when we talk to each other. She has developed the ability to pluck from a stream of adult conversation the one word that is meaningful to her, and to act on it. An example: last night, while bathing Munchkin, Pynchon and I discussed the wild rise of the Canadian dollar against the American, and how possibly the subprime mortgage credit crunch and the general bubble-state of the US housing market might play into this. (Yes, we're dorks. But Munchkin seems happy just farting around with her tub toys at this point, and she mostly gets clean by flailing around by herself, so why not pass the time in intellectually-stimulating chit-chat about international economic policy?). As the word "bubble" passed Pynchon's lips, Munchkin's hands flew up to her shampooed head. She rubbed hard before bringing her hands down in front of her: they were covered in bubbles, just like in her storybook where the main character "is funny in my bath, when I make bubbles in my hair."

From the nonsense stream of phonemes issuing top-speed from a conversation she's not party to--a conversation she assiduously ignored as she jammed Rubber Ducky into the little plastic bucket and then tipped him back out--she pulled 'bubble' from thin air, and linked it to a story in which bubbles can be found in one's hair. And found bubbles in her hair. Delighted, she exclaimed, "Bubble!" and Pynchon and I just let our jaws hang.

She's listening? Uh-oh.

* Baby ears not to scale.


Jenifer said...

Language and listening and connections are amazing, no doubt about it! I can vividly remember some of those moments where you literally can see the light go on in their minds.

Be forewarned though. You would think we would have learned by now since our girls are 4 & 6. We still sometimes have a conversation that are not child-appropriate or we talk about a person or event and don't realize until after that we have had an actively listening audience.

No harm will come though if Miss Munchkin repeats the bathroom conversation...other than some strange looks on the playground.


Kellan Rhodes said...

Cute story! But, you all need to bring your conversations down a notch or that poor child is never gonna learn to speak - I can see why she picked "bubble" out of all that mess - it was the only word I understood (ha!). Good Lord I need to just scoot on out of your site - you guys are way too smart for me - my husband I talk about stuff like who is going to pick of the dog poop in the yard, what we each think about what happened on Survivor or is there any way he could possibly start writing the checks he writes in the d*** check book log. This was a cute story and I like the name of your blog.

Omaha Mama said...

I love that picture!

Yes, you and your hubby are indeed dorks. Welcome to the club. Hubs and I just had a half-hour conversation about school and administrative dynamics. Though not as smarty pants as your economic jargon that I don't know much about.

Bubbles! So cute. Language IS fascinating.

Kyla said...

Just wait until she learns to figure out the words you are spelling, then you're really in for it. Josh and I are currently developing a system of clicks and snaps to attempt to communicate secretly in front of BubTar. LOL!

Alpha DogMa said...

Remember during the Mulroney days when Free Trade with the US went to referendum? And the critics would say, "this will be a disaster for our nation if our dollar's value is on par with the US." And people scoffed at this notion. Well, HA! Take that PC pundits. We skeptics were right. And now our nation is hooped because our economy is booming and theirs is busting!

Yes, geeks run amok in our house, too. But when your family's income is directly affected by these factors - it becomes relevant.

BTW, now is the time to stop bad mouthing your MIL and mother. Before someone quotes you. Yeah, she's cute and smart, but she could also get you in serious trouble!

ewe are here said...

I see a pigtail! Love those!

MF mysteriously seems to have the ability to glom onto the one bad word that might come out of my mouth in a day. Well, maybe more than one. Sigh. Uncanny.

Amy U. said...

She is so sweet and cute and those little jeans just make me want to take a bite out of her.

Beck said...

There's this age when suddenly they just GET language in a big way and it starts tumbling out of them in these huge gusts of words - you're at the beginning, just you wait.

slouching mom said...

She is seriously adorable.

And you guys -- better watch it!

When the hubs and I try to veil our conversations these days, Ben rolls his eyes and says, with profound disappointment in us, "I got every word of that, you know."


Mad Hatter said...

Oh yay. She's here. She's at the language waterfall stage. Happy, happy times. From what I understand it starts coming out in torrents and doesn't stop until they hit 13 at which point she'll need 5 years of sullen silence to recuperate.

Oh, The Joys said...

First we want them to listen, then we don't, then we do.

It's hard to be little.

Christine said...

dude--wait until she is around 6 like my girl--then you'll really have to be careful!

Sandra said...

God how I love that story (and that photo - swoon!). I really miss that stage!!

Bon said...

we're in the same place - as is, in relation to your last post, our poor cat - and it fascinates me. 'cause i don't quite get it...he keeps surprising me with what he understands, so then i overcompensate and start telling him all about, like, literary motifs and then he doesn't repeat a word. who can figure 'em out?


BOSSY said...

Ah-ha! And now you learn the benefit of Pig Latin!

Bloor West Mama said...

I hear you Mimi...we are so there right now.

kittenpie said...

I found that amazing, how they relate everything to their own little sschema of the world. Ours related everything back to her books for a long time because they were one of the things she knew about the world. I loved it. They seem to do it less as their world grows larger, but it still happens, at 3.5 years, now.

I loved how language started in a trickle and suddenly became a torrent, too. I had been writing down each new word for a while, one week writing down two words she learned, then 6 new ones, then 10, and then it became too much to try and track any longer.