What isn’t listed in the letter is the cumulative effect of being the youngest in her peer group, surrounded by children who are more developmentally advanced than she. This peer group effect is, I believe, much greater than all the “appropriate developmental milestone” programming the school could provide. Last year, when she graduated from the infant class to the toddler class, she went from walking a few steps on occasion to walking all the time in literally two days. Those two days, incidentally, were during the first week of fulltime attendance in her toddler class, a room full of her peers who were no longer crawling. No amount of parental encouragement can equal the persuasive power of watching your peers.
So what developmental milestone will she hurtle past next week? I’m currently taking bets. My money is on vocabulary. She’s already expanding her speech quite a bit. Just in the past two weeks I’ve heard her utter the following words and phrases in the appropriate contexts: “Daddy’s shoes,” “one more,” “bird food,” “shoes off,” “dog” (any time she hears a dog bark), “toast,” “house,” “night-night,” and my personal favorite, “You poo-poo?” (asked of her stuffed animals). We’re witnessing the beginning of a vocabulary explosion, and I suspect that some time in a classroom filled with older, more talkative children is going to accelerate her speech.
She can name all the parts of her face. She can name most of her colors, although she still calls orange yellow. She can sing along certain parts of songs. It’s only a short matter of time before she’s conversing with us in understandable English. This is becoming a very exciting prospect. As lovely as the past year has been in watching her personality develop, it has become decidedly clear to me how much we depend upon language to convey and communicate ourselves. I can also sense her frustration at times in not having the words to express herself. Even though she has learned some sign language, she has grown enough that her needs, thoughts, and wants have exceeded the signs for “please,” “more,” “eat,” and pointing. She’s really ready to talk now.
Any bets on the next phrases she’ll learn? I’m sure some of them will be food-related. Or some iteration of refusal, like adding “no” to everything. We’ll see. I’ll be sure to report them. What were some of the odd phrases your children learned first? What are your bets for takeaway phrases for a two-year-old? It’s an exciting few months ahead!