NaNi’s Words – Getting Beyond the R2-D2 Stage

Naomi is now 22 months old. She seems to have gotten remarkably taller in the past month, and also seems ever less the baby.

Photos in this post: top—Naomi the explorer (Rattlesnake Hill, elevation 1,231 feet, next to Squam Lake, Holderness, New Hampshire); middle—Naomi enjoys reading Calvin and Hobbes while on a trip to the Lower Falls, Kancamagus Highway; bottom—Naomi shows off her block-tower-building prowess.

Right now, she is in a fascinating speech development stage, after a fairly long plateau (if anything can be considered long in toddler development) of sounding like R2-D2, where we could figure out what she was saying by the emotion put into the words and sometimes matching syllables, to using new words every day. We repeat what we think she’s said back to her in an interrogative tone, so she can confirm it.

One funny example: We were watching the 2004 movie Thunderbirds, and she was watching it quite intently. I asked her, “Do you like this movie?” She replied, “[Unknown syllables], [unknown syllables], [unknown syllables] cute.” “What!?” I responded, “He’s cute?” (Probably referring to Brady Corbet, who played Alan Tracy in the film.) “Uh-huh,” was her answer.

Also like R2-D2, NaNi can understand just about everything we say to her, and has been able to for the past 9 or 10 months—even complex sentences with multiple commands, like, “Pick up your shoes and put them in your room.” Of course, she’s also at the age where she’s developing a strong will (or perhaps a strong won’t), so she is equally good at ignoring our instructions completely when it suits her purposes.

She’s also doing other cool things. She can identify just about everything in a picture or storybook we can name. She recognizes people in photos. She builds block towers, puts together Duplo, and will sometimes partially assemble Lego people. She can climb the long ladder to our slide, and slide down it without help, now that she’s learned to slow herself down. She will come over to me, lie down, and stick her feet up in the air, which means she wants a “pendulum” ride, where I pick her up by the feet and ankles and swing her back and forth while upside-down.

She recognizes the tunes of many songs, and can even hum along to the “Imperial March” from The Empire Strikes Back. She brushes her teeth by herself. She picks out which pair of shoes she wants to wear, and can put them on. (When we got back from vacation, she insisted on wearing her ruby-red dress shoes to bed, as she apparently missed them while we were away.)

In the past two week, she has started using new words, such as up, and even surprised us with lifejacket.

She has managed to wrap every one of us around her little finger.

So, I’m going to try to enumerate her vocabulary. (I’ll be updating this often in the next couple of days, as I think of new words she is currenlty using):

  • ah-ha
  • all done
  • apple
  • baby
  • backpack (to refer to her baby-carrier backpack that we wear, or to her riding onto my back without the backpack, with her arms around my neck)
  • Bible
  • Blue
  • Blue’s Clues (Her absolute favorite television show, although we limit her to about one hour of TV per day. For the record, Steve was a much better host than Joe is.)
  • bye
  • bye-bye
  • cheese
  • cyclopentanoperhydrophenanthrene
  • Chapstick (Yes, I know it’s a brand name.)
  • Chaz
  • Daddy
  • hi (She also—just yesterday—started using hi in conjunction with a person’s name, as in “Hi, Daddy.”)
  • ice
  • Isaac
  • keys
  • lifejacket
  • marble
  • me
  • mine (I taught her that one. I tried teaching her gimme, but Nichelle took issue with that.)
  • Mommy
  • no
  • nooooooooooooooooooooooo (used especially when her brothers are bothering her, or trying to take something away from her)
  • okay
  • oooooooooooooooooooooooh (drawn out with a long o sound, as if in realization or final comprehension of something)
  • ow
  • ooooooooooooooooooooooow (used especially if her brothers are touching her in the slightest way)
  • pee
  • Phoebe
  • please
  • plum
  • pool
  • Pop Tart (Another brand name)
  • stuck
  • thank you (more of a syllabic match than a phonetic one)
  • T.V.
  • up
  • uh-huh (for yes)
  • uh-oh (for no)
  • uh-uh (for no)
  • up
  • Yes, sir! (Only when singing “I May Never March in the Infantry …”; she also salutes with her hand, and does all of the other actions correctly.)

NaNi loves to sing. Some of her songs are more phonetic or syllabic than verbal, but here are her favorites:

  • Blind Man (an old chorus I learned at Camp Fireside)
  • The Emperor’s March, from The Empire Strikes Back
  • The Farmer in the Dell (which her See ‘n Say® plays)
  • Happy Birthday (She surprised us by knowing that one today.)
  • I May Never March in the Infantry
  • Jesus Loves Me
  • Old McDonald had a Farm (another See ‘n Say® one)

And she can identify the following body parts:

  • belly button
  • ears
  • eyebrows
  • eyes
  • fingers
  • hair
  • mouth
  • nose
  • spleen (I’m not kidding)
  • toes
  • tongue

10 Replies to “NaNi’s Words – Getting Beyond the R2-D2 Stage”

  1. Wow, was this post done at an opportune time.

    Over the weekend, NaNi seems to have moved into the “word explosion stage,” with many new words being added to her vocabulary, and more short clause and sentence constructions.

  2. Let’s see, in just the past couple of days, Naomi has said house, NaNi, outside, Johnand thank you (very clearly, and at the appropriate times without prompting). Oh, and the word, why is being used more often now.

  3. Hi Mike,

    The reason Naomi was taught where her spleen is was because of our friend, Alan Frink. He liked asking little ones that question instead of the typical ones like, eyes, nose mouth, etc. With the possibility of that question being asked of Naomi on occasion, Doug decided to teach her where her spleen is, so when she was asked next time, she could show him. The funny thing was, Doug was showing other people what Naomi had learned and at that time, Alan was travelling quite a bit and not in our services. See he has a great voice and is using it in many different places to serve the Lord. He recently went to Tennessee and had a CD made. Interestingly enough, we can’t remember now if Naomi actually showed Alan where her spleen is, although other people have seen her do that and think it’s so adorable.

    So what was your reason for choosing to teach Leigh where her spleen is?

  4. One suspiciously looked like a “Beth” word in there! Or maybe you have a budding neuro-physiologist. Have Beth introduce her to the lab. (She’ll LOVE the mice!)

  5. What? Isn’t everyone into neurophysiology?

    Naomi is always babbling about either cyclopentanoperhydrophenanthrene or human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), but I think that NaNi was saying cyclopentanoperhydrophenanthrene first.

    NaNi is crazy about animals, including our snake (belongs to Nichelle), the two tarantulas (Isaac and David each have one), and Isaac’s bearded dragon.

    I’m like a mad scientist with Naomi—determined to unleash my creation (a Christian girly-girl Geek engineer) on an unsuspecting world. Beth would be an excellent role model (if we could only get her to stop using those words that make Beth’sMomToo frown).

  6. I’m amazed at how much NaNi’s speech is exploding. She was with her two-year-old class (she’s well behaved, so they let her hang out with them even though she’s not two yet) on Sunday, and she saw me and said, “Hi Daddy! Where’s Mommy?”

    This is a fun time to be a parent.

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