Thursday, June 28, 2007
That's "dada" as in Mike, Henry's daddy, not "dada" as in a hobby horse, or the modern art movement, i.e. Marcel Duchamp. Henry has been speaking for several weeks now, and his first word was "dada." When he was very, very tiny, he heard "I love you" so much that he mimicked the sound of the phrase in one long garbled pronunciation. Usually on the changing table; as in "I love you, thanks for cleaning my tush!" Then came the regular "ahh goo goo ga ga", which gave way to more intricate sounds that sounded like something, but nothing exactly identifiable. When "dada" was deliberately and pointedly announced, the verbal floodgates began to give way. "Dog" "Duck" "Kitty Cat" "Quack" "Cup"... We read together all of the time, and his books are his favorite toys. I cleared out all of our lower shelves and filled them with his ever growing collection of board books. By 8:30 am the floors are smeared with Eric Carle illustrations, Dr. Seuss's silly rhyming and Margaret Wise Brown's simple but meaningful prose. All day long I point out and verbally label everything in our path. I sneak in ways to get him to associate words with colors, feelings, and other abstract things. I also try to get him to say that one word he should be MOST familiar with, even giving him plenty of choices on how he might wish to say it: mom, momma, mama, mommy, mere, madre... but to no avail. The little bugger knows this word means 'me', but he refuses to indulge. I'll run through the options, all beginning with the letter 'm' and he just laughs, and says "dadadadadadadadadadda". hmph. Henry, can you say "hmph"?