Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sleepless in September

The only "sleep" theory that makes any sense to us is my sister's notion that frequent night wakings usually precede the emergence of a new skill.

This weekend, Dan came out with his first word. For a few weeks, he's been stringing together da da, but it's clear he doesn't associate it with Jim yet. Then, on Saturday, while Jim and Dan were out walking the dog, Dan began chanting "Bob, Bob, Bob." That's our dog's name and we said from the beginning that it would probably be his first word. Dog owners know that the dog's name is the most frequently spoken word in the house. Any commands regularly given to the dog are a close second. At least he knows who's important.

It does take some effort to say "Bob" since he has to primarly use his lips, not his tongue, to make the sound. If we chant the dog's name to him, he will look at us and bob his head for a few seconds before squeezing his lips together to release the sound, "Bob."

This may seem like minutiae to some of you, but I was an English major in college and I make my living as a word nerd. The acquisition of language, both physically and mentally, is fascinating. And to think, children learn this skill long before they ever enter a classroom. Amazing.

The photos are from a recent evening when Dan refused to sleep and quietly played on the family room floor for about 45 minutes.

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