Just Another Day of Kiddie Conversations.

I am always amazed at a child’s imagination.   There are times when I’d love to be able to shrink myself and travel through the neurons and synapses of my boys’ brains.  I can imagine the sparks and flights of information travelling through the synapses to the various different compartments.   I often wonder if my brain ever held their levels of ingenuity, and if it did, has the daily drudge of grown up life completely snuffed out the existence of any of those sparks.

Henry is becoming a lot more vocal and his vocabulary continues to expand.   I’m still bombarded with the continuous dribble drabble of toddler speak, but for the most part he know what he wants to say and usually says it.

Davey is well past the standard vernacular of toddler speech.  I am amazed at how well he speaks and the inflection and tone with which he says things.   He is very good at enunciating his words.   Of course, having a mom with at least two degrees, one in English and another in Speech and Communication Studies and Political Science, only serves to either help him or frustrate him as I constantly correct his grammar and tell him how best to diagram a sentence and conjugate a verb.

***side note*** I don’t think my Political Science degree with have any influence on his learning.  And my Master’s in Business Administration may serve us when the boys become older.  Who knows?

Today; however, isn’t so much about how either boy is communicating, but more so about what they have to say.  I find myself chuckling at times, shaking my head at the absurdity of what I’ve just heard and the all out amazement with the things they develop.

Davey enjoys sitting in his room, perched upon his bed with books abounding fruitfully as if they seem to magically spring up from the never reaches of his mattress.   He, of course, “reads” each one and then turns to his pirate ship and reenacts what he’s just “read”.

As I sit here writing this, today’s conversation seems to have flashed forward a few months to Christmas.   Davey grabs my calculator and informs me it’s his mini computer with which he can text.   This is our conversation:

“Mommy, I need to text Santa on my computer.”

“Santa?  Why are you texting Santa?”

“I need to see if he was ok in daddy’s truck.”

“Why was he in daddy’s truck?”

He becomes exasperated and rolls his eyes at me as if he can’t seem to understand why I would ask such an asinine question before responding with this, “Because that’s how he gets to work, Mommy.  Daddy takes him in his truck.”   And then he walks off upstairs shaking his head at my apparent stupidity on the subject of how Santa gets to work.

Earlier, when I woke him up, he told his three good monsters who are strategically placed within his room every night before he goes to bed, that they were off work and could go home to their monster families. Interestingly, these monsters are the same every night, but they have different names, names I can’t speak, not because I would be banished for saying their names, but because I don’t speak “Davey” and can’t say the names.   These three good monsters are in his room every night to protect him from the bad monsters and they even made it on the plane to NY a few weeks ago!

I’m impressed with his creativity, his attention to detail and I’m actually a bit jealous of it.   As many of you know, I’ve begun writing some books.   I have a few short stories under my belt, but the illustrious novel I want to write seems to elude me.  I hit a constant creativity obstacle.  My child, on the other hand, seems to exude my much needed spark.   Once again, what I wouldn’t give to travel into his brain and see how it works.

We still have quite a few hours left in the day, so I’m sure our conversations will continue to grow and continue to astound and even stupefy me.   Maybe he sucked out all of my creative writing skills when he was still within my womb.  I don’t know if I really want to believe that, because it could mean my days of writing are over.

The Proper Speech

I spend a good portion of my time with both of my boys discussing the importance of speaking appropriately. I correct my three year old on a daily basis, but I do so in a learning and encouraging way. I wouldn’t dare degrade either one of my boys.

Specifically with Davey, I’ve discussed the use of double negatives and subject/verb agreement. I encounter a lot of parents and non-parents who question the fact that I’m already attempting to teach this to my boys at such a young age. I joke around about it and will shrug it off with the usual answer, “I have an English degree”, but really it’s more than that. It’s important to speak properly.

Currently, Davey is having an issue with stuttering. It’s not really an issue, but at times when he gets excited, it takes him quite a while to get things out. I tell him to take a deep breath, slow down, and let his words flow. In most cases, that works.

The reason I’m writing this blog is because for a while I worried about Davey and his speech. I worried that he wouldn’t speak at all for a while, or that his speech would be incomprehensible. I read books on helping your child speak correctly, but for the most part it was just investment of my time with him.

I read to him a lot, always have. I speak to him, not at him, and I’ve never used baby talk with him. Now that he’s gotten older, I engage him in conversations about his day. I ask him what he’s doing. Yesterday, I specifically told him to NOT dump all of his blocks out of the bin, but to instead get them out one at a time. While I was upstairs, I heard the sound of hundreds of blocks hitting the hardwood floor and I knew he’d dumped them all out. I wasn’t upset, but I did want a reason for this. This was our conversation:

Me: Davey, didn’t I tell you to not dump out all of your blocks?
Davey: Yes, you did, Mommy.
Me: So, why did you dump them all out?
Davey: Because the blocks on the bottom were lonely. They missed their friends on top.

It’s a creative answer, but also a very well spoken answer. He didn’t stutter and he used the correct grammar.

I remind myself daily to make sure that I’m spending the same amount of time with Henry. Being a 2nd time mom with him, means I don’t stress the small stuff quite so much. He’s 11 months old. He’s making all of the appropriate sounds, saying “mama”, “dada”, “no”, “go”, and “bye”. He’s doing well.

For those of you; however, who may worry about your child’s speech, Parents Magazine, offers up an insightful article. The link is below.

http://www.parents.com/toddlers-preschoolers/development/speech-delays/understanding-speech-delays/?socsrc=pmmtw

The Importance of English

I get a lot of gripe these days from random folks. I hear things like, “he’s only two,” or “poor kid, he’s just trying to express himself.” I’ve been told I need to lighten up. To these people I say, “it’s never too early to teach your child the importance of speaking properly.”

One of the three degrees I have is an Associates in English. I love to read and I love to write. I always have. That’s part of the reason I studied English post high school. At that point in my life, I had not a clue what I wanted to do, but I loved the English language.

Once I entered Clemson, I transitioned my major into Speech & Communication Studies and Political Science. There was a fascination on my end with the spoken word and how just one small slip of the tongue could turn an extremely intelligent person into what could be construed as an illiterate moron. I put a lot of effort into how I speak, even now, even though I don’t necessarily need to for a job. I do it now because I don’t want either one of my sons to sound un-intelligent.

I’m amazed at the effort put into NOT focusing on grammar or spelling or speaking properly. I suppose we’ve become dependent upon computers to help “fix” any of our errors. These computers have become our crutches in the world of the spoken and written word. I’m guilty of relying on them a lot more than what I should. I try to be cognizant of what I write and say and how I convey myself, and I’m trying to instill that in my boys, even little Henry who just turned 9 months old.

My pet peeve these days with Davey is when I ask him a question he responds with, “huh?” I cringe each time I hear that word spill out of his mouth. It’s almost like the sound of nails scraping down a chalkboard. It’s taken a while, but I don’t hear “huh” quite as often and should it slip, I raise my eyebrows and refuse to answer Davey until he corrects himself.

I try to convey the importance of tense to Davey when speaking and the correct use of pronouns. I’m simply appalled at the number of children older than Davey who say “her is coming”. Are the parents just not listening to their children or do they not care?

I don’t discipline him and I don’t scold him. I just simply take the time to correct him and explain the importance of speaking correctly. And the funny thing is that Davey gets it. He truly gets it. It makes me chuckle when he says with perfect alliteration, “Mommy, I sound intelligent.” Yes, my son, you do.

These days a lot of effort is placed upon the Common Core method of learning. The method has its pros and cons and I’m not interested in turning this blog into a forum about whether or not Common Core is best. What really shocks me; however, is the number of people who are in support of Common Core yet they can’t even understand when to use “which” vs. “that” or “whose”, “who”, “who’s”, “whom”. These same people spout out their so called “intelligence” on the matter and yet they can’t even write properly. Instead they use acronyms and short cuts in order to convey their message. It’s sad. There are run-on sentences, phrases, and comma splices. Heck, I know I’m guilty of the occasional one, but I do try to proofread whatever I’m writing in the hopes to NOT make the constant and common mistakes I see within our society.

What’s even sadder is the fact that so many children these days come out of school without being able to write the appropriate business letter, or type, or even draft a proposal using proper English. For people like me, it’s frustrating to see our children this way.

How many of you spend the time actually speaking to and with your children? How many of you put forth the effort to make sure your children are speaking correctly? It’s never too early or too late to start, and it’s definitely a nice “ace” to have in their pocket.