Some of you know that Meg is "officially" behind in her speech. We are now enrolled in the Montgomery County Infants and Toddlers Program, which provides early intervention services to families with children who are behind in one or more areas of development--language, motor skills, problem solving, etc. To qualify for this program, Meg had to prove (in a series of evaluations) that she is at least 25% behind the curve in learning to speak. Basically that means that, since Meg is now 20 months old, she has the language skills of a 16 month old (or an even younger child).
But all that said, Meg has recently made some big strides in talking! We are so proud of her and delighted by each new thing she says or attempts. Here's a partial rundown on her current vocabulary:
"Duck." This has long been Meg's favorite word. I guess she's been saying it for several months now. She loves to identify ducks anywhere she can. In picture books, where they seem to abound, she takes special joy in pointing them out. Unfortunately, we also had an incident where Meg's special interest in ducks led her to pick up, drop and break a ceramic one that sits on one of our neighbor's front steps... yikes! I had to leave an apologetic note on their doorknob... we never heard back from them. Oh, dear.
"Hot." Hot is a word that Meg first learned from her Daddy's warnings not to go near the stove when Mommy is cooking. She now uses it to identify things that are warm to the touch, too bright in her eyes, or, most recently, just plain old uncomfortable. For example, the other day after some grunting and pushing, Meg came over and informed me, "Hot." "Hot?" I asked. "Do you need a diaper change?" In confirmation, she bolted in the direction of the changing table.
"Cheese." This is Meg's happiest word. Just try mentioning "cheese" at a meal time, and you're sure to see lit up eyes and a big, cheesy smile as Meg repeats the words in a high, squeaky tone. (For some reason, the shiny-foil wrapped granola bars that we snacked on at the beach were also dubbed "cheese".)
"Hi." If Meg is really comfortable with you, you might get one of these out of her. Otherwise, you'll have to settle for a cute wave.
"Eyes." A new addition as of last week. Suddenly, Meg noticed that everyone has eyes! Even animals! And now she has the word to tell us about it!
"All done." Really it sounds more like, "Ahhhhhh-duh." Almost always accompanied by the hand sign that we taught her when she was smaller so she could signal that she was finished with a meal. "All done" still serves its purpose at breakfast, lunch and dinner and now extends to cover things that are all gone (an empty cup), books that have been fully read, and people who have left the room.
"Kuu-wuh." It means milk. For some reason, Meg picked up on the final sound of the word, "Kkkk" more than the "Mmmm" at the beginning. We can't get her to switch. Oh, well. We know what she means.
"Booo." This is what Meg says when you point to a picture of a cow. 'Nough said.
"Puuh-buuh." Translation: Pooh Bear. As in, the stuffed version that sits on a shelf in Meg's bedroom.
"Deeis." This is the answer to the question, "Hey, Meg, where's the (fill-in-the-blank)?" When she finds whatever it is, she picks it up and says, "Deeis" (or "There it is").
"Daddy." Meg alternates this with "Da" and "Dada," but Dave likes Daddy best, and I think she knows it. It is now common for father and daughter to have the exchange: "Hi, Meg!" "Hiiii, Dad-dee." Simple, but very sweet when you have waited for it for 20 months.
"Mama." Meg has finally caught on that this lady with whom she spends 80% of her time has a name! When she first began saying it she sounded Italian: "MMMA-ma!" In the two weeks since then she has settled into a more normal American pronunciation.
"Nana." My mom's chosen grandma title. One of Meg's favorite people and favorite things to say. When Daddy asks Meg, "Meg, who loves you?" the first two answers are usually Daddy and Mama, and the third is almost sure to be Nana.
"Nena." This is Lena, my youngest sister. Sometimes she is also called, "Nana," which is a little confusing but, hey, we understand the intent.
"Cuh," or "Cub." During vacation, Meg learned to say her own version of my grandfather's (Meg's great-grandfather's) chosen name, which is "Cubby." I think he likes it.
"Gaa-POP." Not sure if I'm getting the pronunciation on this one quite right, but the newest name in Meg's repertoire is Grandpop, for my dad. I've only actually heard her say the whole name once. Sometimes it just comes out as "Pop."
There are other words that Meg uses consistently, or at least repeats consistently. But that little sampling is probably quite enough to satisfy our readership. I wish that all of you could hear her--she speaks so cheerfully and excitedly and is learning so quickly. Life with this little girlie is sooooo much fun! We are grateful to our good God for helping Meg to finally start putting some pieces together, and we are amazed at how He has made her mind to function. What an awesome Creator He is!