Amelia

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This blog captures my thoughts and observations of Amelia since there are so many wonderful things I want to just bottle and enjoy. Time doesn't stop and while I will have memories, it will be nice for both her and me to have these in-the-moment snapshots of her life.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Vocabulary

In the past couple of weeks I've learned that Amelia doesn't always know what a word means. This was surprising to discover since I have been amazed at how much she seems to understand. However, on a surprisingly mild afternoon, when I asked her at Nana's house if she wanted to go to the park on the way home she said, "No." Short and simple. This shocked me since she, like most kids, loves the park. In fact, we had just been a couple of days earlier and when we left that day, I had to pick her up against her will, legs kicking out to the side (I was carrying her horizontally for just this reason), with whispered reminders that she could have a(nother) tea party at home (which immediately calmed her).

True to form, as soon as we drove up to the park on our way home from Nana's, she started squealing in delight and saying (almost chanting really), "Steps, slide, swing. Steps, slide, swing!" And then I realized, she didn't know the word "park". So I told her we were at the park, and when we left I asked her if she had fun at the park and she said, "Have fun at park!" So now that she knows the word park, it's turned colder again. Boo hiss.

A couple of weeks ago I took her to the library for the first time since Papa died. While it's been only two months, that's a long time for a toddler. When I asked her that Wednesday morning if she wanted to go to the library, she said, "No," and kept playing. As a result, it took a few more minutes to get her out the door than I intended, but as soon as we got there, she had a blast. On this one I made the connection a bit faster as to the lack of the right word in her vocabulary. On the way home we talked about how much fun the library was, just like in her Corduroy book that she loves so much. Last Wednesday when I asked if she wanted to go to the library she said, Yes!" and ran for the door and couldn't put her coat on fast enough. She even gave the librarian her card without any prompting for the first time and said "Thank you," when the librarian handed it back to her.

On our visit two weeks ago we rented Baby Dolittle (from the Baby Einstein series). Amelia loved it but I explained to her that we had to return it to the library after a week and that it wasn't ours. I made sure she saw us return it last week and so she hasn't asked to see it again, but she has mentioned that it's at the library.

Her friend Livia has a swingset that her dad built with two swings and a very high slide. Amelia was barely talking the last time it was warm enough (and light enough in the evenings) to play on it at Livia's house. While we have been to Livia's house several times this winter, you cannot see the swingset unless you walk around to the opposite side of the house from where you park or walk in. Yet, the other day Amelia started saying "Have fun at Livie's house" (normal thing lately) and then she continued on to say, "Have fun on Livie's slide; have fun on Livie's swing; have fun up on Livie's ladder." !!! I was shocked - especially that she made the distinction that Livia has a ladder up to her slide while the park has steps.

I have heard that our memories start at the point that we can talk since we have words to help categorize/label what gets stored in our memories. She is now talking about things she clearly remembers yet wasn't able to speak the words for at the time, even if she understood them when spoken to her. I can understand that memory can exist without speech for everyday things like where her sippie cup is kept or recognizing Nana since even infants clearly show memory in this regard, but talking about something from months ago at this age? Wow.

3 Comments:

Blogger Chas said...

The way their little brains work is just amazing.

My dad has memories from very early childhood, earlier than most I'd say, but his memories are all of traumatic events, things you wouldn't want to remember...I on the other hand have vague random memories starting at about age two and a half. I guess everyone is different.

9:28 PM  
Blogger Amelia's Mom said...

It makes sense that traumatic memories are more easily remembered, unfortunately. Sometimes that comes in handy ... I have a lot of memories of Amelia's infancy I may not otherwise have if she was a super easy baby. For example, her colic finally easing up at 4.5 months, or the time she threw up during the last 2 minutes of the MD v. Clemson game; or trying to find appropriate places to nurse in public. (I exclusively breastfed, and even once juice and solids were introduced there are still lots of time babies need to nurse but I was really self-conscious about it at the same time.)

9:43 PM  
Blogger Clementine said...

I this language acquisition is facinating, too. I love hearing all of Amelia's cognitive connections--it's so cool!

1:16 PM  

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