Thursday, October 1, 2009

22 Months, 1,000 Words

...visions of vocabulary lists dancing in his head.

Every day when Westley wakes up from his nap, he says something I've never heard him say before. On Monday, it was "raw." He was referring to the broccoli ("brock") I was cutting up with the big kitchen knife ("Nye! Beeeg!").

Rob doesn't believe that Westley says over a thousand words. But if it's not that many, it's pretty damn close. I sat down to write out a list--actually write one, with a pen. My hand cramped up around 200. And I was nowhere near done.

It's really too bad that "awesome" has lost its meaning. Because listening to my child speak this brand-new language of his is just that: Awesome. This little boy who, two years ago today, was still all curled up inside me is now speaking to me. And most of the time, I understand him. How is that even possible?

How does he decide what to say? I know he picks up on words that I say, and he's more likely to say the funny ones ("Jeeze!" is a favorite expression). Of course he can name all of his favorite foods and beverages, and he has names for all his toys. But why does he know what a crow is? And how come he has a name for every color but white? He seems to have linguistic priorities, but what they actually are is a mystery to me.

Every waking, with its new words, is a puzzle piece. I get a clearer picture of Westley each day: what he knows, what he likes, and especially what he thinks about. So as his vocabulary expands, we're both learning something new.