Friday, January 04, 2008

The Strong, "Silent" Type

We continue to wait for 16-month-old Genevieve to really start talking. Her main form of communication is a relentless, HIGHLY-ANNOYING "uh! uh! uh!" sound, generally accompanied by pointing at whatever it is she wants you to get for her. Her words--overused in a big way, since they're the only ones she has--are basically just "mama", "dada", "Boo-wah" (for "Julia"), and her forms of "yes" and "no" which are "uh-huh" (or "mmm-hmmm") and "uh-uh" (or "hmmm-mmm"). She also says "dat!" for "what's that?"

Genevieve "talks" the best for Julia, so every night at dinner Julia quizzes her from across the table:

"Vivi, say 'Mama'."
"Mama!"
"Say 'Dada'."
"Dada!"
"Say 'Boo-wah'."
"Boo-WAH!"
"Say Genna."
....."Mama!"

And it starts all over again. We're trying to get her to say her less-used nickname "Genna", because it seems to be easier for her than "Vivi". She's made a couple of garbled attempts at "Genna" in the past, but generally keeps her mouth shut when we try to prompt a "Vivi" from her.

What really cracks me up is when we ask her to say something we know she can't (yet) say, and she responds with some appropriately-inflected, but TOTALLY gibberish reply. Not anything remotely resembling the word in question, as if she were actually trying to make the right sounds. But just some nonsense, ANYTHING, to make it look like she's, you know, working on it. Such as:

[Genevieve screeches for more food at the dinner table]
Christopher: Genevieve, you need to say, "MORE, PLEASE."
Genevieve: slkeuns ghasxlk!
Christopher: Say, "More, Daddy."
Genevieve: pofmren lgiths.

Okaaaaaay.

Unlike some parents, I don't worry a bit about Genevieve's lack of speech, just like I don't worry about her wasting away to ill-health because all she eats is bread. She's fine. She's a crazy madcap baby with an attitude, but she's fine. In the end it's all just mainly highly entertaining to me, because Julia talked at eight months (and hasn't stopped since)--having over 130 words at 18 months old, when, out of curiosity, I followed her around one day with a notebook and pencil, writing them all down--and ate a complex, varied, and extremely well-balanced diet from the moment she tasted solid food. Vivi--oops, I mean Genna--is her own baby, for sure. She just doesn't want to do a whole lot of talking about it.

1 comment:

Heidi said...

I remember you telling how *Julia* had that annoying "uh, uh, uh!" habit before learning to talk! It's what gave Greg and me some peace of mind that *Gabriel's* annoying "uh, uh, uh!" would soon come to an end! Maybe *all* babies go thru that stage on the way to words.

At the dinner table, you could always try to teach Genna the *sign* for "more," like we did with Gabe when it drove us nuts when he would whine or "uh" for more food. It's the only sign we ever used, and when he learned the word, he soon forgot the sign altogether, but it was well worth it to give him that means of (quieter) communication at meals.