Archive for December, 2007
So the other day, I was getting ready for work when Iris walks into the room with a handful of Cheerios. She looks up at me and says "Daddy, would you like some Cheerios?" I look down and say "sure, I’ll take a couple." She hands the Cheerios to me and I eat them. She then says "Daddy, do you like Cheerios?" I respond, "yes, I do." Iris looks up at me and says "I like Cheerios too! I am going to give some to mommy." End of conversation and she strolls out, I soon follow, and head off to work.
As I sat down on the train and fired up my computer to settle into the commute, I thought back to the morning. I smiled about our interchange when suddenly it hit me…
Subjects. Verbs. Proper usage of the first-person. Referring to me as "you" instead of "daddy" when talking to me. When did my daughter master the English language?
OK, maybe "master" is a little too strong and it certainly hasn’t been consistent, but the fact that she can speak better English than some of my junior high classmates did at 13 is amazing. While much of Iris’ development is gradual, there is a huge chunk that happens without you noticing. Nothing is more gratifying than the increasing sophistication of our conversations. Her retention of information is a little startling and she never ceases to amaze me. I totally understand people that study child psychology. The development of the interaction is remarkable.
Of course, there is one challenge. Iris is still working on pronouncing certain letters, particularly "r" and "l" (in fact, I imagine the word "particularly" would be a real toughie for Iris). Now I’ve gotta admit that this speech is EXTREMELY cute. Plus, when she just says one word, you can kinda decipher what she is saying and it is fun to repeat it back to her in the way she says it. But, our little chatterbox rarely limits herself to one word any more. As a results, words run together and there are a lot of times when Cherise and I will look at each other as if to ask "what did she say?", hoping the other one caught it. Fortunately, Cherise is far better at this than I am and often helps me before I can even look for the help as she repeats what Iris says (I assume she is helping me, but then again, she may be unsure and just confirming what Iris said). Iris is fairly patient with her dear old dad, though there was one incident where I had a hard time differentiating between the word "ointment" and "armpit" (trust me, you can confuse those two) that made her none too happy. Obviously, these days will pass and she’ll move on to an eloquence that will put both Cherise and me to shame. And with it will come an ability to communicate that we will take for granted. But for now, it’s fun to have these conversations where we’re both so focused on understanding one another. It’s yet another part of this ever-evolving parent-child relationship that I cherish so much because I know it won’t last forever.