Thursday, April 12, 2007

na-na! and other short stories

are there different schools of thought on the do's and dont's of encouraging language development and expression in your child? besides the whole sign language thing, which seems to me to be too much of an intuitive thing to have doctors do 10-year studies and write books about it. but since we do have a lot of research going on in this country, the question is this: when your baby clearly says a word, are you supposed to REMAIN CALM. STEP AWAY FROM THE BABY and let her just think that that was just the course of everyday life? (which would be true, technically.) or are you supposed to clap and hoot and holler and freak out and attempt to draw the word out of her again and again, just to make sure it was really a real word and not a fluke? i already know the answer, but that is what i did.

my baby said banana. on tuesday the 10th of april she clearly pointed to a banana and said these syllables: "na-na!"...out of nowhere. it was a phenomenon. i still can't get over it, it was the cutest sound i have ever heard. i was exuberant! and rushed her to her high chair gushing about it, to feed her the desired food at once. she must have been a little intimidated by all my to-do, because she said it a little halfheartedly one more time, and then stopped. all day i was saying "nana! and banana!" and showing her bananas and wishing i could hear it again, but nothing. not that day and not the next.

i felt quite bad for having presumably made her regress by putting pressure on her, and made no mention of bananas for a whole day. and today i was rewarded generously. this morning not only did she point and speak it out again at breakfast, but the funniest thing happened after breakfast, when she tried to dig the banana peel out of the garbage. she was standing at the trash can, saying, "na-na! na-na!" in her urgent, gravelly little voice, and fishing around for the peel. (she likes to eat the peels for some reason.) i was dying with laughter and didn't even want to stop her playing in the rubbish, it was so good. at dinner she requested the fruit again! mystery: she has not particularly loved bananas up until this point. do you think that being able to say the word makes the banana more appealing to eat? evidently. this is a good tip to pass along to liz, aka "auntie sissy," her fabulous baby sitter. since bananas are the easiest food on the planet. everyone wins.

speaking of her fabulous baby sitter, i don't think i could have asked for someone more loving or fun for my baby. the other day she was telling me sparrow had slept for two hours. "that's good!" i said, thinking of all the free time she had had to do laundry or homework. not until later did i realize that the reason liz' sweatshirt had a huge drool spot on it was because she had lain there with her the whole time and let sparrow sleep on her chest! that's dedication. i can't even do that without a stealth sudoku game going on on the side somewhere.

sparrow discovered lying on her back and doing bicycle kicks the other day. she is getting increasingly better at playing by herself, and thomas and i just watch her and laugh under our breath all the time because she'll be laying there, for example, kicking her feet in various ways and saying "wowowow!" or looking at her baby books for extended periods of time, or doing the classic "downward dog" and looking back at us through her legs, or trying to climb through the bottoms of all the chairs in the kitchen. and the funniest thing is that she frequently, in the midst of these explorations, will just stop and lie on her belly on the floor and rest her head on the ground, for about 3-5 seconds. and then it's back to business! i call it a mini-break or her power nap.

today i tested her limits of playing alone and inside to the max. i have been semi-obsessed with trying to get some pics printed of her first year of life so i can do a mini-album to take with us to az to show at her birthday party. well the long's uploader is not that great, and i figured out that you have to do little quantities at a time and babysit it and send in all your batches separately. well this was a task that took the bulk of the day, and by the end of it sparrow was going mad from being inside and neglected for way too long. but i had one more thing, a special treat for her, and had to upload a few final pictures. i am so proud of this idea i had that i carried out today: laminated wallet-sized photos of her and her dad to put into her wallet so that she can not only remember her dad while he is gone in china, but also chew on the photos and not ruin them or her intestines! i even went to kinko's before dinner and laminated them myself, and they are soooo cute! she loves them.

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