Gar’s Language Development At 24 Months

Gar has turned two this month and his progress in language has improved by leaps and bounds. He is now able to express himself better. He still uses hand gestures, but he is speaking more now.
gar birthday

He is able to repeat single-syllable words and some two-syllable words. Sometimes he is able to use two words. Previously, at the 23-month mark, he was not able to do that. He is also able to identify the letters and also recognise numbers. He is able to identify colours and say them aloud. Blue, in particular, also refers to Thomas the train, in reference to its colour.

He is also able to use simple prepositions, such as ‘out’, ‘up’, ‘down’. He likes to go out to the playground. In the morning, he will say ‘out’, run to the shoe cabinet, and also tap the wall. I have not quite deciphered what that means exactly, but I know he wants to go out. In fact, he likes to go out very often, a few times a day.

His favourite adjectives are ‘hot’, ‘cold’ and ‘wet’. If his shirt gets wet when he brushes his teeth, he will say ‘wet wet’ and demands to get his shirt changed. It also happens quite frequently when his diaper leaks at night, which is strange because before this month, there were few accidents. If he is in the car, and the sun is shining on him, he will say ‘hot’. If I have just got up from my seat, he will run to it, touch it and say ‘hot’, run to another seat, touch it, and say ‘cold’. It is good that he has a basic concept of opposites. I just taught him the concept of wet vs dry, so he got it too.

Simple phrases and sentences he can say include ‘black bird’, ‘Mummy, please’ and ‘Bye bye, bus’. However, he is still mainly at single words. His most favourite word is ‘No’.

Two syllable words he can say include ‘iPad’, ‘noodles’, and his Chinese name. He doesn’t call himself Gar yet. He is able to say El’s name. He is able to call all his relatives, and also ‘Uncle’ and ‘Auntie’, but they sound like ‘Ah-cle’ and ‘Ah-ty’.

gar tiger

He prefers to speak in English, but he is able to understand Mandarin. He is also able to repeat Chinese words and phrases after me. His usual bedtime music is a CD of Chinese nursery rhymes.

His language development is average, but I am not too concerned yet. However, I do feel that I do not read enough books to him. He is with my mother and my helper most of the time, and they do not speak English well, yet that is the main language they use.

He does not open his mouth during weekly lessons, but one time, when we were doing a makeup lesson, the teacher got him to repeat after her word by word, and he managed to do so. That means he is responding more to other people, and it depends on how the teacher engages him. It is the same teacher, but due to the longer hours during his makeup lesson, they had more time to engage him.

Baby Talk

Do you go ‘goo goo ga ga’ with babies? Do you talk in proper sentences or do you baby talk?

My parents seem to love to make sounds to get Gar to respond. They told me that my grandfather loved to say ‘Ah Ging’ and the baby will follow. It’s supposed to mean ‘Ah Gong’ or grandfather. They were mildly successful with El for one time only. However, they would be met with silence most of the time. Gar simply doesn’t like baby talk.

Sing to him, speak to him about the day, about his features, or anything else, and he will respond with lots of cooing and a wide range of sounds. I would ask him questions, and he would answer in his own way, and I would pause to let him answer, and then respond accordingly, as if I had really understood his words. Just a few days ago, I thought I heard ‘mummy’ in one of his babbling sessions.

In language acquisition for babies, they need to hear adult talk. They will get used to the sounds of the language, and they will start watching your mouth as you make the sounds. Face them when you are talking.

There is a four-step process in speech production according to Levelt (1989). First, you conceptualise the thought. Second, you formulate the words into appropriate syntax. Third, you articulate the sounds, and fourth, you self-monitor your speech. I am fascinated by this and wrote about this in my Critical Inquiry paper for my MEd. The only difference is instead of articulating sounds, students type words. People are able to learn a language through typing, as there is internal dialogue when they type. It gives them time to self regulate if there is asynchronous computer-mediated communication.

El typing ABC

El typing ABC

If we do not allow the babies to hear what your language sounds like, then they will take a long time. In fact, very young children are able to reach the first two stages. Before El could talk, he was already thinking, and formulating the words. He was just unable to articulate the sounds. I know this because instead of articulating the sounds, he typed out the words he wanted to say on his netbook. He was typing out A to Z, our names, and even the lyrics of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star when he was a year old plus. He only started speaking after 2 years, and even then, he was spelling words more than saying the actual words.

In another case, an autistic child, Carly Fleischmann, did not speak a words until she was a pre teen. She was given a lap top, and she started typing. Soon, she was writing long essays to explain what was going through her mind. It was like a magic switch that had turned on for her.

Some people teach their babies sign language so that they could express themselves. I did not really do this, but I had a few sign words for carrying and eating. I do not have sufficient data that babies who have learnt sign language pick up language more easily, or it could delay their speech. I only know that technology may just be the key to unlock the vast thoughts that are going through our little children’s minds.

A Hairy Affair

If there is someone in the household who could cut hair, wouldn’t you let him or her cut your baby’s hair?

Apparently not everyone thinks the same. A hairstylist was telling my mother that her daughter wanted to hire someone who specialises in cutting baby’s hair. How strange.

Anyway, since nobody can cut hair well, unless you want to end up with a bad hair cut, which was my fate when my mother used to cut my hair when I was young, then it’s off to the hair salon.

Gar is born with a head full of head. That is way much more than his elder brother, who at nearly 3 still has very fine hair. It is so long that it stands up, and it curls nicely, and there is a tinge of brown at the ends of his hair. I was born with a head full of hair, and according to my mother-in-law, he has curly hair like my husband.

So at three months old, he went for a hair cut. The hair stylist had cut the hair for El, so I know her skills. It is quite hard to cut hair for a fidgety baby. Previously, El would sleep through the hair cuts. However, this little baby was wide awake, and there was no way he would let his hair disappear without a fight. He was turning and moving, and it took tremendous skills to cut his hair without hurting him. She trimmed the top, and shaved the rest. He had bald patches due to sleeping on his back.

before his haircut

One day before his haircut

After His Haircut

Not too pleased with his new crew cut

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think he needs a bit more hair on top to balance his look.

In the mean time, as she had forgotten to give me a wrap, I had hair all over my clothes, which got onto him even after I changed him out of his clothes into a onesie. It was nearly a tussle against time as I had to get all the hair out of his tiny fist before he put it into his mouth.

This costs 10 dollars, and is way cheaper than a hair salon that targets children, minus all the frills such as cartoon, balloons, gelled hair with temporary hair dye. I have to be there to supervise the haircut, for the last time the elder boy went for his haircut without me, he ended up totally bald, just like a Shaolin monk.

 

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