Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Language Lessons

Poor Genevieve's enraged, mostly unsuccessful (hence the rage) attempts to talk continue apace. She is beyond frustrated. She's getting better: she says "Vivi" now! But she still throws around a couple of all-purpose nonsense "words" all day long (naming things: "bapdah, bapdah, bapdah...."; demanding with desperate urgency: "dizzzzza! dizzzza! DDDDIZZZZA!", cursing you--and herself, probably--out for not understanding what she's trying to say. Oof. It's totally exhausting to watch and deal with, so I can only imagine how exhausting it must be to live it.

For a long while now, Genevieve's favorite book has been a sweet colorful hard-cover called Raindrop, Plop! The whole book echoes the three-syllable "rhyme" of the title, repeating counting and rhyming phrases in an appealing, hippity-hop rhythm. Vivi calls it "Dot Dot Dot!" and asks for it by name.

Today at naptime we were picking out pre-bed stories. Genevieve reached for the nursery bookshelf, enthusiastically yelling, "Eee, eee, eee!" I misunderstood her sounds for general "I want that!" fussiness, and tried to offer her some books. When I didn't understand her right away, Genevieve's voice grew urgent, then angry. "Eee, eee, eee!" she shouted. "This one?" I kept asking her, slipping books I know she likes off the shelf to show her. "This one?" "EEE! EEE! EEE!" she continued to yell, becoming more and more frustrated, until she finally pushed me aside, lunged at the bookcase, and grabbed, furiously, another recent favorite, shoving it in my face as if to say, "You IDIOT. I SAID THE NAME OF THE BOOK FIFTY TIMES."

Which story was it? Easy Street.

7 comments:

Christopher Tassava said...

Huzzah! Film soon on her OTHER new word of the day...

Heidi said...

Sign language, anyone?? I think I wrote before about how the sign for "more" truly saved us in many circumstances. I'm sure you could find many other useful ones on the internet or in a library book...

Rob Hardy said...

When she was Vivi's age, my adorable niece Maggie used to point at things and say, "Zaza Zoozie!" Now she's 18 and studying linguistics at the University of York. Maybe Vivi will be a linguist some day.

Jordan said...

I'm with Heidi. It's when they get frustrated like this that signing makes all the difference. It just gives her a means to communicate more while she's working on things from the word angle. You can make up your own signs or use a book to jump start you. Very easy, and a bright kiddo like her would pick it up fast and be quite relieved, I think.

Shan said...

Yeah, we've neglected the whole sign language thing for the past six to eight months because....meh, we're lazy. Plus, we know without a doubt when she's trying to indicate "more" or "nursing" or "give me that cracker and give it to me now." It's stuff like trying to say the title of the book "Easy Street" that kills her. And I don't think they have a baby-sign for that.

Besides....we're kinda lazy.

Heidi said...

Even though we *knew* what Gabe was screaming for when he screamed for "more" at the table before he had words, we wanted him to learn that screaming wasn't the way to get things. So we took his hands and made the "more" sign and said the word at the same time and *then* gave him what he wanted. It took about 2 demonstrations for him to learn the sign. You could make up your own sign for the Easy Street book.

Shan said...

Heidi--

Ahhhh. That makes sense (the "no screaming to get what you want" message). I get it now.