Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Slow to Speak

Although Amy and I trying not to play the competition game with other
parents (in terms of who walks first, who's potty-trained earlier,
etc.), all things being equal we'd prefer Jada to get to her
milestones sooner rather than later. But one I'm not going to sweat
is her vocabulary.

This is a little surprising to me since I consider myself a
well-spoken person and hope Jada is too. But I'm OK if she's a little
behind on the whole "what words does she say" question. It's a
question you get a lot when you're a parent of a kid this age. And
you also hear a lot from other parents of kids this age about all the
words they know.

So it's easy, even though I'm trying to be OK about it, to wish Jada
knew more words. I mean, though she talks all the time, it's a
nonsensical sing-song that is heart-stopping adorable but that would
never be confused as actual words. As of now, the only words she can
absolutely nail are "mama," "dada," and "debts." (Don't ask.)

But here's the thing. A lot of kids that grow up in bilingual
settings are slow to their first set of words and then zoom up to
speed later on. And in fact, Jada heard exclusively Mandarin for the
first seven and a half months of her life, and then for the next seven
months mostly English with a smattering of Taiwanese, Mandarin, and
French, not to mention the dozens of languages she hears at the local
playground.

Also, Amy and I are fairly introverted, in terms of not being people
that do a lot of out-loud talking. We try to read to Jada and have
conversations with her, but we're no equal to the many dual-extrovert
couples we know, whose kids constantly hear their chattering from the
time they wake up to the time they go to bed. I have a feeling our
Jada will end up like us, a little more contemplative and a lot less
verbose.

So as competitive as I am, I'm going to be just fine that Jada's got
three words in her arsenal when I know of other kids her age have five
times that. I have a feeling that though she might be slow to speak
now, she'll have plenty to say later.

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