Hello all. I’m starting this blog for the handful of people (mostly Karol and Patrick’s grandparents, I’d assume) that we don’t get to see or talk to very often.
Well first things first. Patrick is 7.5 weeks from his expected arrival. Due to the Thanksgiving holiday our 2 week check up appointment had to be pushed back to 3 weeks, which no one is terribly sad about. It’s quite a hassle to go to the doctor that often, especially when all they do is ask ‘how are you feeling?’ and then send you away to make another appointment. Even Patrick protests. I don’t think we’ve ever had a check up that he didn’t kick the heart monitor away.
Our next check up, however, we will also be having an ultrasound. I know I’m a terrible daughter/in-law/granddaughter/niece for not sharing any of the ultrasound pics we’ve gotten so far, but I can’t get them to scan at home or at work! They need to make ultrasound machines equipped with digital email sending. Anyway, our next appointment is Friday, Dec. 4th, and the following day I can try to scan the new Patrick pics from Fort Meade since I’ll be at drill.
Today is Friday, and the week has really gone by fast for me. For about 2 weeks now, we have been driving rather than metro-ing in from Silver Spring (home) to Arlington (work/school). The GWU business school is literally right on our way, so we typically drop Matt off in the mornings which gives him an extra 45 minutes our so before class starts. Then it’s just about another 5 minutes and we’re at Lori’s, which is where Karol ‘works.’ Her work looks a lot more fun than mine. Karol has started taking the morning car ride as a nap opportunity, which makes for a peaceful trip most days, plus she is that much more refreshed for all the play, play, play of the day.
Matt’s schedule has been hectic, and I’m glad we invested in some good suits for him because he’s certainly put them to use! He’s all fancied up at least a couple of times a week, it seems. He is of course quite handsome in them and makes me feel like a bum because not only do I get to wear jeans & t-shirts to work, but I’m in maternity clothes, too.
And boy, talk about maternity. I feel HUGE with this baby! Patrick has been a VERY mobile baby throughout this whole pregnancy, but yesterday was crazy! He was visibly all over the place, punching and kicking all around. I’m sure he’s trying to get situated for an early delivery (let’s hope). The doc thinks he is going to be big compared to Karol, and I tend to agree. I feel like Patrick is growing faster than his support system can keep up! The next ultrasound will be checking for size and positioning, specifically, so that will be interesting to find out.
Next on the list, I have to talk about what a brilliant genius my little Karol is. Was there ever really a question? This morning, she and her Daddy were saying the word ‘fish’ together, because she hasn’t mastered the ’sh’ sound yet. Of course she thought this was hilarious.
For those that don’t know already, we have been teaching Karol ‘Baby Signs,’ which is really just American Sign Language repackaged and sold for ridiculous amounts of money to sappy parents like us. But Karol loves it. She’s got 3 DVDs: Park Signs, Pet Signs, and Bedtime Signs, and she is able to do most of the signs in them. We also have one called My Favorite Signs that came from the starter kit. At first we were unsure about letting her watch TV, but within a couple of days of watching My Favorite Signs she not only started learning the signs but some of the words as well. So I got the above mentioned 3-pack. There are 3 more, but we’ll wait on those until they are a little cheaper since they only come individually. We’ve taught Karol a few extra signs as well that have made life SO much easier. We attribute her lack of frequent tantrums to this handy method of communication.
All that being said, the other day I got one of my weekly emails discussing language skills at this point in Karol’s development. Here’s what it says:
“Ball,” “dog,” and “bye” may be your child’s favorite — and only — words at this point, though some early talkers may have as many as 20 words in their vocabulary. Maybe she uses the words at the right time for the right things, or maybe she says “dog” when she sees other furry animals with tails. Don’t be discouraged — that’s an indication that she’s learning to group things together. Just say the correct word in a matter-of-fact tone (”That’s a horse, honey; horses are bigger than dogs”), and she’ll soon pick it up.
So I thought it would be interesting to count how many words Karol knows, and since this blog is all about bragging, you get to hear all about it! So here goes.
1. Mama - That’s me! She knows the sign for this as well, but doesn’t use it unless you ask her.
2. Dada/Papa - These are both Matt. She uses Dada more. Also knows this sign, but it’s hard for her to distinguish between the ‘mama’ and ‘dada’ signs since they are very similar.
3. Dog - Or “Doh!” This is by far Karol’s favorite word ever. Probably because it’s her favorite thing ever. She loves, loves, LOVES dogs. She’s extremely fluent in the sign for dog, and if you don’t know it, she will teach you, whether you want to do it or not.
4. Duck - “Duh.” Easily confused with ‘dog’ except that she knows the sign, too, and usually does them in conjunction.
5. Again - This one started as ‘gaa’ and has evolved to ‘agaa.’ She learned the English and the sign for this simultaneously and always uses them together.
6. Cat - “Caa!” She learned the English and the sign from the Baby Signs DVD. She usually does them together, unless she’s pointing to a cat in a book.
7. Nose - “No” or “Nah.” This is usually a super-fun game, answering the questions, “Where’s Mommy’s nose? Where’s Daddy’s nose? Where’s Karol’s nose?” We point to our noses a lot more now that we have a toddler. She can also locate eyes and mouths, but doesn’t really say the words yet.
8. Cocoa - “Coco.” Karol learned this one because the name of the bunny at her child care is Cocoa. This can get confusing, as ‘cocoa’ ‘bunny’ and ‘rabbit’ all mean the same thing, but are different words. I think she’s just now starting to understand, however. There is also a sign for this, but it’s very difficult as it requires some pretty advance fine motor skills. Imagine putting up two fingers the way you normally would if you were making a ‘bunny’ with your hands; the sign is the same. She can recognize it and do the hopping motion with her hand, but getting that 3rd and 4th finger to stay down is pretty hard!
9. Ball - “Bah.” She likes to play with Matt’s basketball and football, which I swear she has been saying ‘fuh-bah’ when referring to it. So that counts as 2, I think.
10. Bird - Easily confused with ball, this one is ”buh,” but she also knows the sign, so we know what she means.
11. Bath - “Baa.” She recognizes and repeats the sign for this as well, but I’ve never seen her bring up the topic of baths herself. She loves taking them though.
12. Squirrel - So far this is pretty much just the middle of the word, “Irr.” However, with the extensive animal watching that occurs at Lori’s, we know what she means. They get to watch birds and squirrels partake from feeders on the balcony whenever they want! Mommy and Karol spot them all the time when we’re walking, too.
13. Turtle - “Tartuh” This recently acquired word is still in formation, as it’s one of the first 2-syllable words we’ve attempted. The sign for this is extremely complicated for a toddler if you ask me, but she picked up the English from her Baby Signs DVD.
14. Fish - As stated earlier, this is just “fuh” for right now. She is pretty savvy with the sign for this as well.
15. Niña/Niño - She learned these from one of the first books she ever got and still reads often. This is of course the Spanish for girl/boy and she says “nina” and “nino,” respectively.
16. Bye-bye - “bah-bah.” Sometimes she’ll say this and wave but it’s primary use is in responding to Paul and Judy in her Pat the Bunny book.
There are some words that she knows only the signs for. Here they are:
1. More - She has said this in the past in English but is usually eating when she uses it so typically only does the sign.
2. Out - She’s great at doing this when she wants out of the high chair, the tub, the crib and sometimes uses it when she wants off Mommy and Daddy’s bed, which is too high to crawl down from.
3. Touchdown - Okay, I don’t know if this is a true ASL sign, but naturally we had to teach it to her. Mysteriously, she has spontaneously done the ‘touchdown’ sign the past 2 fridays, almost as if she’s anxiously anticipating the weekend of College and Pro football ahead (and Matt always makes sure this is fulfilled).
4. Flower - She uses the ‘flower’ sign for ‘flour’ as well, which is funny.
5. Eat - It’s not often that she’s hungry enough to stop playing before we feed her anyway, but occasionally she’ll use this as a request for something to hold her over ’til dinner.
6. Milk - We think she uses this when she really means ‘drink,’ but I just learned the sign for ‘juice’ yesterday so we can start differentiating between juice, milk, and water.
7. Pacifier - We don’t know the real sign for this, but I used to make a pinching gesture with my hands when I referred to it, and Karol perceptively caught on. I regret doing it now, because I’d rather teach/know the real sign, but it’s effective for now, and Karol only ever asks for it when she’s ready for cuddly time and bed.
8. All Gone/All Done - She uses this when she’s done eating. Takes the guess work out of feeding her.
These are all from watching the Baby Signs DVD, and we use them when we’re reading and playing to reinforce the concepts.
So all in all, Karol knows quite a few words one way or another at 14 months old. She is of course a genius.
Just yesterday a co-worker was telling me war-stories of dealing with her toddler daughter, just a few months older than Karol. We’re talking kicking and screaming, rolling around on the floor tantrums. Luckily we’ve never seen anything like that from Karol, and I hope that stage can just be avoided all together.
Well I hope this has been a sufficiently long and fulfilling post. Until next time, be well!