Sunday, January 12, 2014

Speechifying

Little Bear's point of comparison is "...like a hippopotamus." "I'm as warm as a hippopotamus." "I'm as comfy as a hippopotamus." "I'm as hungry as a hippopotamus," etc. I'm not entirely sure where he picked it up, but it's quite cute. He has a vague idea of what a hippo is - he's seen the cartoon pictures in books, maybe a photograph or two or a real hippo. I'm pretty sure that he hasn't seen a real hippo outside of Seaworld, but that was two years ago, and I'm pretty sure he doesn't remember that.

It is extremely interesting, listening to the kids' speech develop. I love listening to them talk to each other in their rooms, when they think that we're not listening (or rather, when they're paying attention to each other rather than us). They're very earnest in their conversation, and I can hear them trying out phrases and words with each other. "Oh my goodness, Little Bear, will you please just leave me alone?" is one that The Boy says quite frequently. That's usually followed by somebody getting pounded in fairly short order.

The Boy's speech is developing quickest at the moment, mostly because he's in the public school and around a wider variety of teachers and students. (Yes, I'm aware that language development in the brain of a 2.5 year old is immensely larger than a 6.5 year old, but I'm talking about styles, here. Don't crimp a perfectly good story with facts.) Every once in a while, he pulls out a phrase or word that he learned in school from his teachers or fellow students that cause me to kind of stop and stare at him for a second. Fortunately, it hasn't been cuss words yet (he hears them enough at home, unfortunately), at least that he's said around me. The other two boys are in pre-school, but it's a small class. The teachers and other students tend to be of the same ethnic background, education level, and socioeconomic class as The Wife and me. They hear the same general language pool.

The Baby, like his older brothers, is developing well and earlier than many of his peers. It helps to have bigger (but not too much) brothers at home! He puts together relatively complex sentences. He identifies letters, numbers, colors, and most shapes (up through 8-sided and some of the specialty shapes like stars and crescents and such). He is able to adjust song lyrics on the fly, and he's been able to figure out parody lyrics and jokes. (Example: Knock-knock; who's there; elephant; elephant who?; elephant in your refrigerator!, which is really funny considering that that's adapted another joke - how do you know an elephant was in your refrigerator - into knock-knock form.) His favorite song to sing is still "Ba Ba Black Sheep," which is his go-to- during car-ride singing sessions.

His voice is very smooth and very sweet, too. That helps.


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