She Says… Photographic Memory

Another early morning wakeup this morning. Sigh. No night terror-like screaming this time, just crying. But ever since I considered the possibility that Owen might be struggling with an ear infection, I’ve been looking for signs that would send us to the doctor to get it checked out. The third night of interrupted sleep in a row was just the sign I needed. Hoping I can snag the last appointment of the day today and run over there after work/daycare. He’s acting fine and doesn’t have a fever or really any other symptoms (except a little dry cough and boogery nose), but usually when I get this feeling, I’m right.

If nothing else I’ll feel better knowing he’s not in pain and can leave him to self-soothe a bit longer so we can all get back to full nights of sleep.

Ever since Owen started talking, his vocabulary has amazed me. The kid repeats just about everything we say and will start using the new words immediately. And correctly. He talks and talks and talks. He’s funny. He uses adult-like inflection and body language to emphasize his words. Watching him figure out how to string words together is one of the most fascinating things I’ve ever seen. It’s almost as if you can see the gears working in his head, choosing words and sounds.

We’re dying to get him talking on video (both for you and for posterity’s sake), but as soon as we pull out the camera or the iPhone, he’s all, “Pikkers! See! Pikkers! Owen! See! Pikkers!” and then he won’t rest until he’s looking at himself. Someday soon, though, I hope. The way he pronounces words melts me over and over again.

Lately he’s gotten to the point where if I repeat something back incorrectly, he’ll say, “No, Mommy” and repeat it again until I get it. Sometimes he gets frustrated, but generally he’s really good at helping me understand what he’s saying. Or maybe I’m just really good at guessing. Probably a little bit of both.

We have some of the same conversations over and over again. When we drive to school in the morning he always talks about the playground that we pass. “Drive. School. By. Dee-dah.” (“Dee-dah” is still one of those weird words he says strangely, even though I’m sure he could say it correctly now).

  • When we turn on to our street in the car he says, “All done car! Home! Doggie.”.
  • When we go by bakeries, and now specifically Dunkin Donuts, he shouts, “Coffees! DUNKIN’ DONUTS.”. What? We’re from Boston :) Benjamin taught him “Dunkin Donuts” and he’s so hilarious when he says it that we always laugh. Now he thinks it’s the punchline to the best joke ever, and whenever we ask him, “Where do we go to get coffees?” he waits for a long time while a HUGE smile creeps onto his face, and then shouts at the top of his lungs, “DUNKIN’ DOH-A-NUTS!”. What a little joker.
  • A few weeks ago when we were at the mall there was a boy wearing a mask at the kids’ play area and it scared Owen. It was the first time I’ve ever seen him scared. Ever since then he’s been rehashing the story over and over. “Boy. ‘Cared. Mask. Mommy there! Hold you.”
  • One day “the animal guy” came to his daycare and had rabbits and guinea pigs and birds. And, apparently, a carrot in his pocket. That was months ago, and Owen is still talking about “Carrot. Pocket. Bunny — hop hop! Hold animals. Birdie wings!”

He also loves to talk about books that we read. The last few weeks I have introduced some longer books with paper pages (rather than board books) and the kid is smitten. Smitten, I tell you! He loves to read the same book over and over and talk about the stories even when we’re not reading them. I’m proud to say he’s so in love with them that not a single one has gotten ripped. Yet.

  • When we hear church bells he is certain that Mr. Parker from The Best Nest rang them. So hearing church bells on Sunday mornings turns into a complete retelling of the story, complete with all of the things we talk about in each of the pictures that are in no way related to the story. It’s almost like Owen has a photographic memory. He notices tiny little things in pictures and remembers exactly what page they are on and where.
  • The other night he was holding Is Your Mama a Llama while I changed his diaper and he opened it to a page and said, “Lloyd. Silly! Llama.” (which were some of the words on that page). It was like he was reading, but clearly he just remembered the words that I say while he looks at the pictures on that particular page.
  • We recently got an I Spy book. He pours over the pages looking for things. I’ll say, “I Spy a… Choo choo! A bike! A red ball!” and he finds each one. The next time I say one of those items, he remembers exactly where they are and turns the pages until he finds them and taps the item proudly.

Our conversations just keep getting better and better. He knows and understands almost every word I use now, so I rarely have to “dumb down” my speech for him. Even if he doesn’t say them all back, I can just talk to him like a big kid and he gets it.

I guess that’s how it happens. Kids grow up. And they “get” things. And they learn how to talk back. I’m sure someday I’ll be wishing he would stop talking, but for now I could listen to him talk all day.

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10 responses to “She Says… Photographic Memory

  1. I think my favorite part about this age is the conversation… it is so much fun to be able to talk to your kid!!

  2. Actually, let me rephrase that… talk WITH your kid!

  3. I wouldn’t doubt it if Owen DOES have a photographic memory, especially given how advanced he is with language (if those two things are related?) That is soooo impressive at his age!

  4. I was just thinking about vocabulary this morning. My parents never dumbed down their language for us, even as older kids, for example my mom hates the words ” shut up” so she told my brother and I that if we wanted to say shut up, we could say I in French. Ferme le Bouche! I am sure it was quite precocious sounding to other adults.

  5. Sleeping Mom

    You could try secretly videotaping him talking lol. Yesterday my toddler was reading Good Night Moon out loud, and I know the minute I put that camera in front of him he’s just going to get up and walk to see what’s on the phone. So I sneaked up from behind him and videotaped him haha. You don’t really see his face but it was just too precious to pass up.

  6. Too cute, Kate! I bet he does have a photographic memory. When I was little, I used to think my dad was illiterate b/c he would skip pages and *I* knew what words he was missing ;) Little did I know he was just finally OVER reading the SAME EXACT BOOKS 9 million times ;) Love that he loves DD. Smart boy! :)

  7. Oh and the conversations — cannot WAIT for those. Maya’s been slow to talk (in my opinion) and I just blogged about this today — there are kids speaking 75 words at her age (15 mths) according to my BabyCenter board. I feel bad for wanting her to speak more; I know she’ll do it when she’s ready but I love knowing what’s possible — and coming.

  8. Here here for talking to them like an adult. No, not like an adult necessarily, but not dumbing it down, like you said. If I get one compliment on my parenting from others, it’s the way we talk to my almost 3 year old, and I think it makes a difference, not only in how well she talks, but also how she interacts with others and how she responds to discipline. (Not that she’s perfect by any stretch of the means, but you get my drift).

    Do get him on video when you can…you’ll be amazed how those mispronunciations quickly correct themselves and you almost forget how cute it was when things like “watermelon” sounded like “money money”. We understand probably 97% of the time now, but a few months ago when sometimes we didn’t quite get it, she would keep repeating the word/phrase and when we finally got it she’d say “OooOOOhhhh”, almost as if she was saying “took you long enough, dummy”. Ha! I SO wish I had that on video!

    It just keeps getting better, just wait til the singing really starts…Emmy makes up songs all the time and it is awesome.

  9. P.S. Hope the ears are better soon, or whatever may be causing the night waking!

  10. He sounds so much like my oldest girl. She was very verbal from a young age and her memory amazed me (still does!). She is now almost 4 years old. My youngest (19months) is not as verbal. I was so used to Elle being so verbal from such a young age, that I thought there was something wrong with our youngest. In the last few weeks her vocabulary has really taken off, but I am learning that children are all so different and am realizing I can’t compare the two:) You need to get Owen on video because we didn’t get many of Elle’s conversations recorded (and I regret it!).

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