Saturday, 6 April 2013

How children teach adults to speak properly

Over some scrummy coffee and cake yesterday afternoon, the mummies and I got talking about our little people and their sponge-like ability to pick up new information. The perplexing thing is - how do they know, I mean really how do they know to filter out all the good and useful information we're trying to teach them and yet remember every single indiscretion or swear word that we mutter in their presence?

Little Monster is nearly 14 months now. We don't have too many words yet. The odd 'cuddle' has been uttered (how cute a first word is that?). And to my doting parent ears, I'm sure there have been things that have sounded like 'hello' and 'cat' too. Or perhaps that's wishful thinking. But over the last couple of months, it's become clear that Little Monster understands quite a lot more than he's previously let on and I swear he pretends not to understand at his convenience. One of the things that has given away his level of understanding is his new favourite activity - pointing. I'm pretty sure that pointing is the pre-talking version of 'what's that? And that? Why does it do that? Why?'. Oh joy.

The problem is, you never quite realise your child's level of cognitive development until they demonstrate it - usually at the most socially awkward juncture (do they do that on purpose too?). Little Monster has a cool set of bath toys that are like little octopuses which suck up water and let you squirt it out. A few months ago it seemed amusing when we nicknamed the little blue octopus Blueberry Fart. Now that Little Monster's pointing skills have developed and he points to the toy in response to us saying Blueberry Fart, it suddenly seems like a really, really bad idea.

Still, I'm learning my lesson early. If Little Monster says 'fart' at nursery, it'll probably get a few chuckles. If he says some other f-words, they might be somewhat less amused and I will be somewhat more mortified. Perhaps we'll stick with pointing for a while...I think the whole talking thing could be overrated.

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