Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Mealtime Talk

Yogurt Face

Despite the fact that life with Meg presents many challenges right now, there are also moments of great triumph. Her breakthroughs in communication, small as they might seem to an outsider, are huge to us. Let me try to explain what I mean.

Several weeks ago, Meg was just beginning to understand that she could answer our questions verbally. Prior to this, she would answer questions like, "Meg, what does the owl say?" and "What's Mary riding on in this picture, Meg?". But questions with more practical application, such as, "Meg, do you have a dirty diaper? " were answered only by confused look.

The trouble was that, initially, the answer to most of our questions was, "No." See, Meg understood that "no" could be the answer to a query, but she was unsure what "no" really signified. You could tell this from the way she usually said it: "No?". So we would have conversations like this one, which is the actual transcript from one of our breakfasts.

Me: Meg, are you all done?
Meg: No?
Me: Oh, well, would you like some more grapes?
Meg: No?
Me: Some more oatmeal?
Meg: No?
Me: Do you want more banana?
Meg: No?
Me: Are you still hungry?
Meg: No?
Me: Oh, well then, are you all done?
Meg: (after a bit of thought) No?

Comical, but not very helpful, and a teeny bit frustrating. After our dead-end conversation, I decided to just end her meal, even though I really wasn't sure she was full.

But, oh, this morning! What a difference in her understanding of questions and answers! She still doesn't always use "no" appropriately, but she's so much more communicative. Here's what was said today at breakfast:

Meg: (pointing somewhere across the room from her high chair) Chee?
Me: (thinking she was indicating the block of Monterey Jack on the counter) More cheese, please?
Meg: Nooo. (Pointing this time to the cabinet where we keep cereal.) Chee-o?
Me: You would like some Cheerios?
Meg: Yes?
Me: Okay! That's great asking, Meg! Do you want your Cheerios with milk?
Meg: No?
Me: (Setting a handful of dry cereal on her tray) You want them dry?
Meg: (Shaking her head vehemently) No! (Pointing to the dishwasher full of clean dishes.) Boo?
Me: (Absolutely delighted to understand her at last.) Oh, you want to eat them with your spoon! Okay, then I'll put them in a bowl with milk.

And Meg nodded happily, as if to say, "Now you've got it Mommy."

Well, praise the Lord now someone's got it.

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