Was that really her first word?

Jan 30, 2013 by

S and S on porchWas that really her first word?

By Shara Lawrence-Weiss

You’re probably not going to believe me. I have four kids (ages 14, 6, 4 and 9 months). My eldest child’s first word was “cheese.” We eat a lot of cheese here – I’m half Dutch – enough said. My first daughter said her brother’s name, as her first identifiable word. She yelled it from the window, watching him play outside, because she wanted to be with him. My second son said “ball” first; I think that’s pretty typical.

Two nights ago my husband and I were hanging out with the baby, before going to sleep. She likes to sit in between us, after the other kids have gone to bed. She likes to use that time to her full advantage, I think, getting our undivided attention. Over the last several months I’ve been making a deliberate effort to get my kids to embrace polite words like please, thank-you, you’re welcome and excuse me.

You never really know what a baby is understanding until they talk, right? I’m convinced that they know far more than we can imagine, long before they can verbalize what they’ve already lived through. That’s another post, though.

Back to my story: the baby was on the bed with us, getting fussy. My husband said, “She’s bored. She wants something to hold and chew on.” I replied, “I know. I’m looking – hold on.” I grabbed something fun from my nightstand drawer and handed it to her.

“THANK-YOU” she said. {Technically, that’s two words, right?}

I replied, without even thinking, “Oh, you’re welcome.” Then I kissed the top of her head.

A moment later I scrunched up my face and looked back over at Rick and said, “Did she just say…” He looked at me and we both began to laugh. “Did she seriously just say thank-you as her first words?”

We both heard it. Clear as a bell.

Rick kissed her, laughing, and said, “Such a polite little baby, you are.”

According to everything I read, from Dr. Sally, among other educators, language is a key factor in reading success. Sally says that a language-rich home is a great way to grow natural readers.

Time will tell, I suppose. I’m excited to hear her next big word. Rick probably hopes it’s “politics.”

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  1. Thank you again for illustrating another concept. This time you hit on language development. How do children learn to speak? By understanding what they hear. Here’s even a refinement of that concept.

    Q How do children learn to say “please” and “thank you?”

    A By saying “please” and “thank you” to them.

    I am glad you and Rick had so much fun enjoying the fruits of your labors in this fun and pleasant way. And there is a good chance that “politics” is on the way!

  2. Ava

    that is so great and so funny..

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