Thursday, April 11, 2013

communicating with olive.

I'm not really one for baby books or recording overly interesting information about Olive.  Maybe sometimes that would be nice to have but I don't foresee myself looking back for that information at any time during my life.  I hardly even look back at photos.  And I don't want to make it easy to compare Olive, developmentally or otherwise, to other children or to any future children that we may have.  I can really only imagine wanting to look back on Olive's "stats" in order to compare to another one of our children in the future.. but I don't think that is at all necessary.

But sometimes I think it may be nice to at least have a little picture of what things with Olive were like at various points during her younger years - it's obvious that a parent's perception of what children are like, especially babies and toddlers, becomes quite skewed and inaccurate as they becoming increasingly distanced from that period of their life.  Adults around my parents age almost always seem shocked about certain things that Olive can do and remember.

For example.. remembering.. Olive has an awesome memory for people and events.  It's true this long term aspect of her memory will not last forever, unless she is one of those lucky few with super early memories, but that doesn't mean that she can't remember anything.  She remembers things that she did for her birthday, at Christmas, and last summer.  She remembers people that she met last summer and has little interaction with since.  She remembers that her grandpa eats Cheerios, even though she only experienced that at Thanksgiving and Christmas.  When going to visit family in Iowa Olive is excited to see everyone - "Papa, Gama Judy, Abby, Kyle, Pipi, Suzie, and chickens."

Olive is getting really imaginative.  She likes to make pretend phone calls when we're in the car and she often adds pauses as if her conversation partner is responding.  In the car her calls usually sound something like this.
"Hi Abby, Adi. How you?"  (she still calls herself Adi)
"Drivin' in car.  Good.  What doin'?"
"Gotta go, drivin' in car. Bye, talk later!"

Yesterday she told me that she was a ukelele and was singing a song (without words) that she was making up.  I thought that was creative... to BE a ukelele.

I honestly have not a clue as to how many words are in Olive's dictionary of daily use, but I know it's a lot.  At 24 months it's typically to have 200-300 words and to construct simple sentences.  Olive is certainly blowing this benchmark away (but that doesn't mean she is better or smarter than any of her friends that don't talk as much).  I thought to make a list of her words but I'm not really sure the point and it'd be a daunting task... so I won't.

She uses descriptive words and talks about things being big, little, loud, quiet, fast, slow, dark, long, heavy, etc.

She describes things by their taste (spicy, sweet, delicious), texture and feeling (soft, bumpy, wet, cold, warm, hot), and by their color (this morning she told us that it was white outside (yes, it snowed) and that the white covered up the brown and green.  She will occasionally mix up a color but she knows most of the usual colors and will even tack on light or dark to describe them better.

Olive knows a lot of foods - she helps me find chia and quinoa at the store.  She knows what typical vegetables are but also things like beets and leeks and ginger and mushrooms.  Last summer, during our CSA months, she knew what fennel, dill (often mixed up the two, understandably), leeks, different types of squash.. all were.  She forced me to buy a honeydew yesterday.

We shop in bulk at small co-op stores so Olive experiences food a little more hands on.  She sees me fill my spice jars and other containers so she knows things about cumin, coriander, chili powder, peppercorns, and more.

The co-ops usually have small child sized carts and Olive helps me shop.  Everyone always seems impressed that she can maneuver such a heavy cart - she insists on loading it up with all of the produce and anything else she can fit it and then she carefully follows me and never bumps into anyone or anything (except for me.. on purpose).  Olive isn't one to sit and wait so these carts are wonderful - giving her a job at the store makes her a lot more receptive to being there.  It'll be nice to give her her own list when she's a little older.  For now I just have her help me find what we need next (since I'm obviously not intelligent enough for that and am always getting lost in the store..) and she helps me fill our bags or containers sometimes too.

When we're somewhere public, usually with other kids and moms around, and Olive is feeling comfortable, she'll sit next to a parent she has never seen before and will try to strike up a conversation. On Monday she talked to a mom about the kids that were running.  Yesterday she talked to a fellow shopper about the cold rain outside.  It's a neat little part of her personality because I know plenty of very verbal kids do not have a desire to sit down next to random parents and try to talk to them.

A few weeks ago we were in a child's clothing store and a little girl, around six years old, was following Olive around.  She asked Olive where her mommy was.  Olive brought the girl to me and then told her "Here's mom mom.  This is mom mom.  Dad dad at work, far away."

Today Olive kept yelling out the window.. "Go away snow!  Summer, where are you?"  Because she wants to swim, is usually the reason she gives.

There are plenty of things that Olive says that I understand better than others.  She doesn't really babble unless she's being funny and making up a word or sound.  I get a little bothered when people seem to assume she's just babbling and don't ask her to say something again or wait for her to repeat herself.. some people just seem to brush little kids off as unintelligent.  Olive surprises me daily with her intelligence.  I think it bothers her as well.. but I guess that's part of being a little kid.  Some of her word mistakes are really cute but she's fixing so many of them right now.  So far "a little bit" is still "a libble dit"... I think that's my favorite.  :)

Olive likes to sing songs.  "Monkeys on bed" in a favorite as well as the alphabet, of course.  She can get through the entire alphabet accurately, when she's not distracted or being silly.  But some of the letters don't sound quite right - but at least there is a placeholder for each letter.  At the end she says "no more ABCs, next time sing with MEEEEE".  She also likes to sing "eio have farm".  She really likes to suggest that the farmer has an "Adi" on his farm, who blows out her nose, and a "kiwi" fruit on his farm, who makes a loud squeak sound.  And then typical farm animals, of course.

She has one show that she gets to watch every few days.. somedays we watch a little more television (I blame it on the gloom sucking away my energy and motivation to move).. But her favorite show is Super Why.  She finds "super letters" everywhere now, especially at night when we're in the car.  And then she puts them in her "super compudder!!!"

Olive is working on getting all of the names of her fingers straight.  She's usually 60-80% accurate but if it's been a few days she seems less confident.  Her favorite is her pinky finger but she also like "poider".  The others are middle, "wing", and "fumb".  She is also working on solidifying her grasp of right vs left.  I think she's almost got it.. but again, if it's been a while between talking about it she often forgets.

We're still working on learning Spanish words but I really need to get better at remember to include them or she isn't really going to get anywhere.  She has great Spanish pronunciation, it's such a natural language.. but if I don't keep feeding her words she isn't going to be saying or using them.  Ooops!

So.. if you care about the details of Olive's communication - there you go!  I thought my blog may be a good place to keep little snip-its like this of some of Olive's bigger developmental progress.. just in case I do want or need to look back someday.  But I'm not going to be all crazy about it.

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