Ru and I have had many people ask us recently about Signal's language development. They want to know if he's talking, how many words he has, and the like. Well, truth be told we had never given it much thought. But in order to satisfy everyone's curiosity (and our growing curiosity too), I have actually made an attempt to really pay attention to his language use over the past few days. Here's what I've found.
Signal has more than 125 words. That's when I stopped counting the other night. He has used other words since then that I know I didn't count, so that is a conservative estimate.
He talks all the time, unless he has a soother in his mouth. We use a "don't offer, don't refuse" system with the soother; this means that now that's he's older, he generally only uses it at naps and bedtime. But if he asks for it during the day, he gets it. That said, when he tries to communicate with me while sucking on his soother I always ask him to take it out and talk to me. Which he does.
Signal still signs some, but only uses three signs consistently now. He will sign for "milk," "more," and "read" while saying the words. I think he uses the two together for emphasis.
He now combines two words together a lot. "Hi Oma," "No cats!," "Up please," and "More fruit" are common combos.
I would say that about 30-40% of the words he uses are understood by people other than Ru and I. When he speaks quickly or combines words it can be harder to understand him, but really, his pronunciation is very good for a 16 month old. In fact, my dad didn't believe that Signal was the one really talking to him on the phone because he said "Hi Opa" so clearly.
He has one mystery word. Often, when he is standing near the snack cupboard and he is asked what he wants, he answers "pie." He has never had pie. I don't think he has any idea what pie is. But we sure can't figure out what he thinks pie is either, despite offering him everything in the snack cupboard and more.
Signal really likes to sing. "Row, row, row your boat" and The ABC song are his favourites. With "Row, Row, Row," he sings the "Row, row, row" part and the "merrily, merrily, merrily" part. With the ABC song, he muddles through the majority of it, but his favourite part is definitely "Now I know my ABPs, ne ti... me!"
He can count to 5, and can count to ten if you help him get past 7 and 8. He also really likes identifying numbers in print (see yesterday's post.) Signal can also identify some capital letters by sight, including E, W, U, B, and M.
That's about all I can think of for now. I'm sure you can understand that my ears are often tired by the end of the day, but his words are also a great help. Signal rarely has tantrums or meltdowns because he is frustrated that we can't understand him. He can, in fact, be very insistent with his words and doesn't back down easily. But that will come in time too, I am sure. For now we'll just have fun listening to him learn new words every day.