Friday, January 7, 2011

First Words

I don't really know a lot about kids. Parenting really has been a completely new experience for me. One of the things that surprised me the most is how gradually milestones happen (at least in my experience). Learning to do something new takes a long time and there is a lot of "kinda" and "does that count?" when it comes to marking when we hit a new milestone.

So I have no idea what to count as Michael's first word. I'm not even sure if he's said it yet.

So what counts as the first word anyhow? I was hoping for 'a word spoken in clearish language and used appropriately.'

So he started around 6 months saying "dadada" but not "dada". And since then he's said a lot of da's but I don't think he's ever really said "dada" with meaning.

Well how about "mama"? He's said "mama" clear as day but he didn't really say it to me directly. And he will whine "iwantmama" still, but again I don't know if he knows what he's saying exactly... I can't imagine that an 11 month old can use 3 word phrases with verbs and personal pronouns and such.

He was saying "bye-bye" the other day and waving (which is pretty cool!) but his bye-bye's sound more like "dye-dye" because he's really good at the "d" sounds and not so good at the others. He has also said "kitty" but it sounds like "ditty" (which I think is pretty cute).

The one thing he says that I should probably count, if anything, is "all done". It started sounding like "ah da" but now days he says it somewhat clearly. Could his first word actually be a two-word phrase? We sign all done after meals and he says it back to us (but only sometimes signs it) and has been doing that one for several months actually. The way he uses it and repeats it back to us is pretty undeniable but it seems like a pretty weird first word.

He's to the point now that he talks to us in his own little language of dah's and doo's. It's just absolutely delightful. Well, delightful until he throws in an angry scream because you wouldn't let him chew on nail clippers or whatever.

So I'll say...

First accidental word: Dada
First clearly spoken word: Mama
Worst word with clear meaning: All Done

What do you think? What would you count as the first word? Should I hold out for "Mommy"?


Michael went back to the ENT for his ear recheck since getting tubes. Getting the tubes did seem to speed up his babbling, a lot, and we are pretty pleased. They redid his hearing test and it was so much more fun to see him responding to the sounds (the first test he just kinda sat there not hearing too much). I knew he was doing better during the testing and I was so proud of him, it was just kinda cool. He can now hear down to 10dB (they want 15dB or less). Before the tubes it was 25dB, so definite improvement.


Michelle said...

I love when they start to talk!!
Kristopher's first word was Mama for sure. Then ball. Then EEEEE for Zoey. So cute.
The 2 yr old I watch just now changed from dye dye to bye bye. It sounds like he's doing pretty good for still under a year :)
The baby I watch just said his first real word this week with "up" and i totally melted. It's just too cute.

Rachel said...

The reason that so many languages words for mama and dada sound so similar is that they are easy syllables to pronounce. One test for "using a phrase" is if the baby ever uses any of the parts separately, so my daughter said "Iwantthis" but clearly thought of it as one word since she never used "I" or "this" or "want" in any other context. But so much fun that he's talking already!

Celia said...

The girl I nannied for, her first word was cheese. She loved cheese and she said it in her high chair when she want more. Chee Chee CHEE!

My niece spoke in complete sentences at 9 months. Which is freaky but true. Sometimes when Peter is pissed in his crib I think he says mama, but I am not counting it till I can be sure. You are totally right that everything is more of a gradual sun rise then a big light bulb.

Sophie said...

How fun :). I say it counts!

Kate said...

I have no idea what to call the first word. I think maybe mama, but it's hard to know does she mean me or not. It is very hard to tell when the next milestone is reached. Sitting up? Seemed a pretty fluid thing too.

Amanda said...

He just crawled all the way across the room to get to me saying ma-ma-ma-ma.

Jessica White said...

Go for it! I feel like a bad mom because I honestly don't know what DD's first "official" words were, because some of it was just babble.

Glad to hear the tubes are helping!

HomemadeMother said...

I've always thought the same thing. Milestones really are so gradual and don't necessarily happen over night. I don't remembe the specific day when my daughter started to walk, just that she was around 13 months.

Holly said...

I'm not saying I'm an expert, but I majored in linguistics in university, and what we were taught to classify as a first word was something that a child used consistently to identify an object/person, even if that word is garbled. So, it might take a few times of a baby saying a word before you even realize that they are saying something.

In your case, I don't think I'd count mama (sorry!! If it's any consolation, my son doesn't make the 'm' sound, like, EVER, and it SO won't be his first word. He loves babbling with the 'da' sound, and I'm just waiting for 'dada.') I wouldn't count it because it doesn't seem clear enough that he is saying it knowing what he means by it.

I WOULD count "All done" though, especially if he's been saying it for a while and it's getting clearer and clearer.

Phrases like "All done," "Thank you," "Let go," and "I love you" are learned like multi-syllable words such as dada, kittycat, or doggy, and then later on they figure out that the word can be broken down into seperate words.

Sorry for rambling, I love this sort of thing though! I guess that's why I majored in it.

I love reading your posts as to how Michael is doing, as my son was born 3 days before him, and I find it so interesting, comparing how they're developing! My son isn't really close (as far as I can tell) to his first word, but then, everything he has done has been so out of the blue, and has come in spurts. I'm sure it'll surprise me when it happens. :)

Amanda said...

The only thing about "I want mommy" is where did he learn it as a single word vs an actual phrase? We don't say it, daycare certainly doesn't. So how does he know to say "I want mommy"?

Anonymous said...

I have also been amazed at how gradual the milestones have been. I was trying to fill out Birdie's baby book and realized I have no idea when she did some things because they were such a gradual shift. Birdie has done the same thing with mama and dada and I still don't know if she means one of us when she says it.
That is great that he is doing so much better after the tubes!