Tag Archives: baby talk

She Says… Dinnertime Confessions

No, I don’t mean confessing that I’ve barely cooked dinner the last few nights, despite loving to cook (which, cough, may or may not be true, cough). I mean a different kind of dinnertime confessions.

We’ve been doing “family dinner” for a while now. And while sometimes (OFTEN!), it is quite the scramble to get a hot meal on the table at 5:45pm after a full day of work, it is always worth it. The past few days Benjamin has been away on a trip so it has just been Owen and I (hence the little to no cooking). We sit at the barstools in the kitchen instead of in our dining room and chat.

It is HILARIOUS to “chat” with a 2 year old.

Over the last few days during our one-on-one gossip sessions, I’ve gotten to hear all kinds of dirt. “Carter had cereal for breakfast.” “Caleb’s mommy has a baby in her belly!”. “I pushed Tristan on the playground today.” “I got a sticker from the sign language teacher. Do you know the sign for butterfly, Mommy? It’s like dis.” “Look – green beans on my fingers!” “My plate is purple. Corin LOVES purple.” “After dinner can you play with me upstairs?” “Old McDonald had a farm…” “Can we set up a playdate at Keira’s house? She has lots of toys? We should ask her Mommy.”

I jump in and ask questions and respond to each statement. We actually converse. It’s amazing. He answers questions so honestly and matter-of-factly, it just kills me. The other day at school, for the first time IN HIS ENTIRE LIFE (I think), he didn’t nap. Like, not at all. When he got home I asked him, “Why didn’t you nap today, buddy? What were you doing instead of napping?”. “Talkin’ to Tristan”. Ha. At least he’s honest.

These little dinnertime chats have become my favorite part of the day. I love hearing what things he remembers to tell me, or the questions he asks. The questions are so honest and so brilliant and such a glimpse into the fascinating world of the two year old brain. This morning on our walk to school he noticed a certain dog (who usually barks at us) wasn’t outside. I said he was probably still sleeping. Owen asked, “He has a night light?”. I told him no, I didn’t think the dog had a night light, but that I didn’t really know the answer. “He has a lovey?”. I told him maybe. Maybe that dog has a lovey.

I hope this is the beginning of many, many family dinners where my kids tell me everything on their minds. (Ha. In a few more years? Not likely…).

 

She Says… I DON’T LIKE DAT

Kids have strong opinions. And they don’t hesitate to express them. Whether it’s crying or biting or yelling, they just haven’t developed their filter.

Owen is very advanced in his language skills. Usually, this is an enormous help to all of us. However, fabulous communication skills + strong opinions + no filter = awkward situations.

We recently started our once-a-week music class again for the fall season. We’ve done 3 seasons of class now, and Owen absolutely adores it. He knows the routine, the songs, the teacher. He pours over the music book and asks to listen to the current CD constantly. He learns the words to the songs and asks for them by name. Since we’ve done the class for almost a year with most of the same people, Owen is super duper comfortable. He is always a gregarious little social butterfly, but something about the comfort of this class seems to bring out his personality even more than usual. He runs in the door and doesn’t stop talking/singing/performing/being silly/dancing/saying hilarious things for the entire class. He’s the center of attention and he wouldn’t have it any other way.

This session, more than in the past, Owen has favorite songs and songs he really doesn’t like. Currently he doesn’t seem to like any that sound like lullabies or are too “pretty”. As soon as they come on the CD, he’ll say, “Don’t like ‘dat one, Mommy! Change it.”. When we’re listening at home, I roll with it and let him listen to what he wants to listen to. But in class it’s a different story.

Last week the teacher started singing a sweet, soft song and Owen turned to me and said, in a very loud voice, “I don’t LIKE dis one!”. I smiled and kept singing and tried to ignore him.

Maybe he thought I hadn’t heard him. Not to be ignored, he stood up from my lap, took my face in his hands, peered right into my eyes and yelled, “MOMMY! I DON’T LIKE DAT SONG!”. I busted out laughing, as did most of the other moms, and thankfully the teacher was laughing and smiling too. She nodded her head and we all kept singing through our laughter. She always tells us not to talk during class, that the best way we can teach our kids is by singing and using the music to show them the behavior we want them to emulate. So I kept smiling and tried to sing.

When appealing to me didn’t work, Owen did what he does best. He used his charming social skills to try to get what he wanted. He went around to every mom sitting in the circle and said, using his best manners, but in a VERY loud and clear voice: “I don’t LIKE dis song. Change it? Sing a different one? No like it.”. By the end of the song we were all dying laughing and he was standing there, triumphant and grinning.

The language skills are a liability when I don’t want him to repeat things, too. Remember the other night when he peed all over the floor of the bathroom at a restaurant? He was taking a walk around the restaurant with my father in law after dinner and started shouting “Pop! I peepeed all over da floor in ‘der!”.

I love 2 years old. Never a dull moment.

She Says… Death of the “Deedah”

Once upon a time, what feels like forever ago these days, Owen started talking. Quickly his few little words (“Uh oh!”, “BUH bye!”, “Hi!”) turned into sentences and phrases. Now the kid can talk about just about anything. I feel like he knows almost every word that I say. He wakes up in the morning asking, “School today? Playground later? Read a book with me, Mommy?”. He puts himself to sleep telling his lovey about the fun things we did that day (“Walk doggie. Ate eggs! See choo choo.”). He tells on himself when he’s doing something he shouldn’t be (“Oh-WEN! No climbin’”) and parrots the rules back to me before I even have to say them (“Only Mommy holds knives. Knives SHARP. Dangerous.”) while nodding enthusiastically.

To say he is very verbal for his age is an understatement.

As his vocabulary doubled and tripled, there were a few words that he consistently said wrong. At first, like the Type A person that I am, I wondered, “Why does he say them that way? What can I do to help him say it correctly? Is something wrong? Why won’t he try to say them clearly when he says so many other words clearly?”. Many more experienced mothers assured me, “Don’t worry. They will correct themselves in time. And you may even miss those mispronunciations when they are gone.”.

You know what? They were right. Obviously.

One of Owen’s favorite mispronunciations was to call the playground deedah. I still have no idea where it came from, because none of the sounds are the same, but he insisted that’s how it was said. We would over-enunciate “Puh-LAY-ground” and he would grin devilishly and repeat, “DEEDAH!”.

And so it was. We went to the deedah.

But a few days ago, after I told him we were going to the playground, he waited for a moment, and then, very slowly, said, “Puh-lay-gound”. Missing the “r”, but pretty much perfect.

And that was it.

Deedah was dead.

And I miss it.

As of today, there really aren’t very many words that he still mispronounces. I’m hanging on to yappoo for vacuum, thank you very much. Won’t be correcting that one any time soon. And my new favorite, pro-BOB-a-lilly or probby for probably. They are just too darn cute. And my time to hear them is short.

She Says… 26.2

Happy Patriots Day! Err, Boston Marathon Day! Either way, it’s a holiday ’round these parts.

Our not-so-new-anymore house is about two blocks from the marathon route. We weren’t here for last year’s marathon so I didn’t know what to expect, but it was so amazing to be able to walk out my door and be right in the action. Especially with a toddler who gets carsick — not driving to exciting activities is key! For those who have never experienced it, watching the marathon is so, so special. It’s… breathtaking. And inspiring. And, at least for me, totally tear-jerking.

When we first arrived, I rolled Owen right up to the road block and pointed out the wheelchair racers and I had to choke back my tears. Even though I’ve never run a marathon myself (or ever plan to in the future), it’s surprisingly emotional. These people are AMAZING. Especially the ones who survived today’s randomly ridiculously hot weather. It felt like mid-August today!

Despite the heat and sun, Owen spent most of the morning jumping up and down, clapping his hands and yelling, “YAY RUNNERS!”. You know, when he wasn’t 100% COMPLETELY OBSESSED WITH THE FIRE TRUCK AND AMBULANCE that were parked nearby.

Yep, there was a real, live fire truck and real, live ambulance parked next to the course where we were hanging out. With real, live firemen. And they let him climb on the truck.

Owen was smitten. I think it made his little life.

To be honest, they seemed pretty sweet on him (and Schnitzel) too. We pretty much hung out with them all day long and they even offered to “babysit” so I could run up and watch some of the runners come through. Owen chatted with them about helicopters and airplanes and runners and, of course, fire trucks. He didn’t stop smiling (or talking) the whole time we were there.

And I came to the realization that Owen speaks so clearly and logically these days that anyone can understand him without needing me to translate. What an AWESOME moment.

We ended the day with Owen’s first ice cream cone. He wouldn’t even try the ice cream part (the kid chows his broccoli and refuses ice cream?!), but totally dug the cone. Whatever works. It was a good “share” for Mommy!

What a fun day. I kind of hope we go back to our normal weather soon, though. I’m not sure I’m ready for 90 degrees just yet, thankyouverymuch.

She Says… Report Card

At certain points throughout the year, Owen’s daycare does “progress reports”. Of course you can’t put a grade on most of the developing these little guys are doing, but they are a way to check-in and make sure that parents and teachers are aligned on the child’s development and milestones and to get a very general sense of how that development lines up with other kids in his or her age range.

In the first few months at our “new” (not so new anymore) daycare, Owen was shuffled around from room to room based on where they had space on the days we need care and teachers coming/going. For some kids, bouncing between caregivers and being in different classrooms each day could be problematic and cause stress, but in pure Owen fashion, he just went with the flow. In fact, I think he loved the attention and the social interaction with so many people. They used to call him “the mayor” because he knew a lot of the teachers and other kids since he was often in different rooms, and Mr. Social continues to be cool with transitions and changes. Since late December he has (finally!) been settled in the same classroom with the same teachers and they are like our family now. He talks about them at home, calling them all by name and running right over to them when he sees them at school. Since he has been in his current classroom for a few months now, they had a chance to do a full progress report on how he’s developing and learning.

As someone with a psychology and human development background, I find these kinds of assessments really interesting. Those who have kids this age who are not at daycare might too. Owen is currently one of the youngest in his class, which I think is a perfect fit for him since at this point he is relatively advanced in language and motor skills. Here are the categories the toddlers are evaluated on in Owen’s class (kids range from 20 months to 2 1/4 years). They are rated as “Accomplished”, “Progressing” or “Requires Support” in each area.

SOCIAL/EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT

  1. Transitions easily between activities
  2. Imitates adult chores
  3. Expresses affection
  4. Engages in parallel play
  5. Enjoys solitary play
  6. Participates in circle time
  7. Seeks adult help when needed
  8. Recognizes self in mirror or picture
  9. Shows ability to separate from parents/caregivers

COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT

  1. Imitates several new gestures (dropping blocks, shaking toys)
  2. Enjoys messy activities such as finger painting
  3. Recognizes several people in addition to immediate family members
  4. Uses play dough and paints
  5. Makes detours to retrieve an object
  6. Helps to turn pages in a book
  7. Matches sounds to animal figures
  8. Identifies two body parts

LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT

  1. Uses 2-3 word sentences
  2. Uses name to refer to self
  3. Knows names of peers and teachers
  4. Answers questions
  5. Uses some expressive vocabulary
  6. Imitates environmental/animal sounds
  7. Attempts to sing along to simple songs and rhymes
  8. Identified 5-7 pictures
  9. Uses expressive vocabulary of 20 or more words

SELF-HELP SKILLS

  1. Able to wash hands with assistance
  2. Removes simple clothes
  3. Able to feed self with spoon/fork
  4. Defends possessions using “mine”

FINE MOTOR SKILLS

  1. Builds a tower using three cubes/blocks
  2. Places 6 round pegs in a peg board
  3. Points with index finger
  4. Tears paper
  5. Uses pincer grasp

GROSS MOTOR SKILLS

  1. Kicks a large ball forward
  2. Is able to walk freely
  3. Is able to walk up stairs with one hand held
  4. Pushes and pulls large toys
  5. Is able to seat self in a small chair
  6. Moves on a tide-on toy without pedal
  7. Stands on one foot with assistance
  8. Runs freely

Owen is firmly in the “Accomplished” camp for the vast majority of these skills. Of course, there are still a few he is working on, as there will always be.

Parallel Play
For instance, Owen is great at solitary play (though I was surprised to see this, because when he is home, he wants me by his side at all times), but not as proficient in parallel play. I would say that’s because he likes to be in the action — he doesn’t want to play beside you if you have a fun toy, he wants to play with you/on top of you/all over you or not with you at all. Normal toddler stuff, to be sure.

Expressive Vocabulary
Though his vocabulary is impressive for his age, apparently Owen has some trouble using expressive words. Hence the biting incident. Since that incident I am happy to report that we haven’t seen him bite again and have been working on ways to talk about emotions without hitting, punching, biting, throwing, etc. It’s sinking in, I think. Slowly. Now Owen will raise a toy in the air and say, “THROW!” before he throws. He looks to me for direction before doing it, so he knows he’s not supposed to do it. It’s great because it gives me a chance to say, “No, we don’t throw. It looks like you are mad. Are you mad? How about if we jump up and down instead?”. Doesn’t always work, but I have a feeling this is a skill we will be working on for many years to come. Many adults I know have not yet mastered it!

Self-Help Skills
He’s good with washing hands and using a fork, as we’ve been doing those for awhile. But still working on removing clothes. Ha! Perhaps because that is a skill I’d rather he not learn, lest we have a naked toddler running around all the time. Maybe we’ll start with taking off his coat and shoes, rather than, you know, pants and diaper. Another self-help skill he is working on is defending possessions using the word “mine”. It is interesting to me that this is in the self-help category, but it does make sense in the context of standing up for yourself. I have heard the word “mine” a lot recently, so this is definitely something he is working on at school. Often at dinner now he will say, “Mine green beans” or “Mine milk”, even though no one is questioning whose food it is.

No matter where the marks fall on a progress report, it is amazing how much developing their little brains and bodies are doing, and just how many things they need to “learn” that we take for granted every day. Toddlers are amazing.

 

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.

She Says… Phrases

For the last few weeks Owen has been stringing words together to make phrases. Little sentences. It is AMAZING how much you can communicate with only stringing 2-3 words together.

Doggie tail WAGGIN’.
Funny doggie.
Hold you, Mommy. (He says “Hold you” instead of “Hold me”. That one melts me EVERY TIME)
Wake up!
Buh-bye, Dada.
Dada WORKIN’.
Phone RINGIN’.
DUMP TRUCK!
(Always said in ALL CAPS)
Police car.
Soccer ball.
Baseball.
Ride bike.
Car DRIVIN’.
Go go go ‘chool!
(school)
More cereal.
More yogurt.
More _____.

The world is an exciting place, people. Always something new to point at and talk about. He’s big into emphasizing verbs recently, and he’s learning the “-ing” suffix. Though for Owen it’s “-in’”.

I have been trying desperately to get these precious conversations on camera, but to no avail. As soon as I get the phone/camera out, he’s all, “All done! See. Pikkers (pictures). OWEN.” All he wants to do is gaze at pictures of himself when the camera comes out.

Who can blame him, right?

I mean… look at this face.

She Says… Words They Are A’ Changin’

Remember a few weeks ago when I wrote about how although Owen said a lot of words really clearly, he still had a few that he pronounced quite strangely? Liz, my friend from Goddess in Progress (and in real life too!), commented and said:

As long as you speak normally, he’ll totally fix his own pronunciations, and if you’re like me, you’ll actually be a little sad when he does. I was so bummed when my kids stopped saying “pack-pack” for backpack.

She was so, so right. In the last few days, Owen has started correct several of his previously-mispronounced words. And although it’s wonderful that he’s becoming more understandable to people other than me, it pulls at my heart strings a little. So I wanted to write down the way he pronounces several words right now, so I can always remember them. Though I like to think I will always be able to hear his sweet little toddler voice in my ear.

yap-poo = vacuum
kihr-kohl = circle
nook = milk
yox = socks
bock-ghi = broccoli
yee-amp = lamp
nyeh-nyeh = mitten
yee-oh-yee-awl = cereal
cah-kee = coffee

His vocabulary continues to grow at an astronomical rate. He is absolutely loving playing with foam letters and numbers in the bath and now can find “O” for Owen, “D” for Dada, and “M” for Mommy. When I tell him what other letters are (“R”, or “E”, for example), he can give me words that begin with those letters (“wocket! (rocket!)”, “eh-fen! (elephant!)”). His obsession with names continues. He yells out names of his friends at school, his aunts and uncles and cousins, and I find the letter that their names start with and stick them to the wall of the tub.

It is funny to me that he picks “favorites” as he’s learning these new things.

FAVORITE NUMBER: 9
He is totally into the number 9. He can find 9′s on clocks and in books and even finds 6′s and turns them right side up and says “Nah-yeen”. Also loves saying “TEN!” when I sing a little number song that ends with 10.

FAVORITE LETTER: O (obviously)
The kid finds O’s everywhere. In books, on signs when we’re driving, in magazines on the coffee table. He is SO proud to point them out and when I say, “What is O for?”, he taps his little finger on his chest and croons, “Owwwwwennnnn”.

FAVORITE SHAPE: Oval
Once he learned the difference between a circle and an oval, he’s been all about ovals. He often still gets them mixed up, but loves, loves, loves finding them. Lately we’re expanding beyond ovals and triangles and circles, too. Yesterday he picked up his gloves and ran over to me, pointing at this shape, shouting “eh-gon! eh-gon!”.

It took me a minute to realize what he was saying, but he was saying HEXAGON! It’s actually an octagon. But hey, the kid is 18 months old. We’ll cut him a break.

What are your favorite mispronunciations that your kids say or said? Did they correct themselves naturally over time?

She Says… 18 Months

Owen,

Since you were born, time seems to work in mysterious ways. It feels like just yesterday I was breathing slowly and clutching my belly as the contractions washed over me and your little body told mine that it was time for you to come out. But, at the same time, I feel like I have lived a hundred lifetimes since then, as sometimes moments with you, staring into your beautiful blue eyes or dancing around the kitchen together, can feel like they stretch on for days and days. It was only 18 months ago, but so. much. has. happened. since. then.

You went from smooshy, floppy newborn to stable sitter to adventurous crawler to full-speed-ahead walker to wild runner to fearless climber. And I do mean fearless! You are confident and silly and will do anything for a laugh. You thrive on being the center of attention and have already mastered the art of deliciously reeling your audience in. Daddy and I already know how hilarious you are, but it has been so fun watching other people get hooked on you as well. You are a charmer, buddy. Use that power wisely as you grow.

You went from scratchy newborn cries to making tentative sounds to gibberish to words. Real! Words! Now those words are a constant string of the thoughts flying through your brain. This morning, from the second you woke up it was, “Doggie! Hi, doggie. Car? BUS! Open. Moon. Hi, moon. Morning, Mommy. Diaper. Roll it! Milk. MILK!” and on and on. Every day your vocabulary expands and you surprise me with some connection that your mind has made. You amaze me.

You, my little chatterbox, are an incredible communicator. You use words and sign language and gestures and pure, unadulterated emotion to get your point across. Oh, you are a master of emotion. You do not hold back when it comes to smiles and laughs. You throw your head back and laugh so hard that sometimes I worry you might just stop breathing. Confession: You make me feel like the funniest person in the world. I’m not. But I am to you. It goes the other way too — when something happens that makes you sad, your whole face opens up in the most beautiful pout. Hot tears spill over your cheeks and you are consumed by that one emotion. Luckily a quick cuddle from me can usually dry those tears in an instant. I hope that is always the case, though I know it will not always be that easy. Still, when your heart is broken, I’ll be here to try to dry those tears too.


You mirror emotions in others too. As a baby, you were always a “social crier”. When other babies at daycare cried, you would cry too. Now when you hear a baby crying, you freeze and get a very worried look on your face and say, “Baby!” anxiously. When I read sad parts of books (like when Corduroy gets left at the laundromat), your eyebrows knit together thoughtfully and sometimes you whimper or whine. A page later you are raising your arms and shouting “Hooray!” when he is found. I hope you are always so honest and free with your emotions as you are right now. Wearing your heart on your sleeve is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s a beautiful thing.

Always keep that remarkable ability to feel other peoples’ emotions. Care. It’s hard to see things from someone else’s perspective sometimes, but it helps. I promise.

My wonderful boy, I can’t even explain how much fun we have when we’re together. When you are older, I hope you look back and feel the same way. And, someday, I hope you feel the same happiness in your life as I do right now.

I love you. Always.
Mommy

She Says… Mrs. So-and-So

Owen has been completely obsessed with names recently. When we received Christmas cards over the holidays we put them all up on the wall and his favorite thing was to point to each one and ask (read: demand), “Dat?”. After I said each name he would repeat it (to the best of his ability). And then giggle. And then ask me again. Lather, rinse, repeat. Often I would turn the question back on him and ask him who the people were, and he almost always said the right name! Go figure, Mr. Social is totally enamored with learning names.

He also knows the names of people on food packages when he plays in the pantry cabinet. Oh yes, he and Bob (of Bob’s Red Mill) and Uncle Ben (of Uncle Ben’s Rice) are on a first name basis. And if there are any people on cereal boxes, Owen calls them all “guy”. The kid sees a face and wants a name!

In public, he will point to people and say, “Dat!” as if I know everyone’s name. It’s getting a little awkward to have to say (out loud, usually within earshot), “Ummm, I don’t know that person’s name, buddy…”. And even more awkward to say, “That’s a man/woman/girl/boy/kid” and realize that I’ve guessed wrong. Ooops. The other day Owen learned the word people (pee-boh), so at least I’ve got that one as an easy out.

He talks about our friends constantly, even when they are not there. He constantly “finds” his cousins and aunts and uncle and grandparents (most of whom he hasn’t seen in months) in books and on the street. When we sing songs he will shout out their names and I will work them into the song. He comes home from school with new words every day and finally I’ve come to realize that many of them are names of his new little buddies. Have I told you he’s obsessed? Obsessed.

At school he is supposed to call his teachers Mrs. and Ms. So-and-So. This strikes me as kind of funny, since he is only a toddler, but I guess it is good practice in formality for later in life. In any case, it feels a little strange to refer to his teachers as Ms. So-and-So when most of them are clearly my age or younger. But what is even weirder is thinking of having Owen call my friends Mr. and Mrs. So-and-So. I can remember several of my parents’ friends who I called Mr. or Mrs., and definitely when I met my friend’s parents, they were Mr. and Mrs..

Does that mean that Owen should be calling my college friends by their formal title when he learns their names? REALLY?! Not going to happen, folks. But then will it be weird when he is 10 and going over to friend’s houses and calling their mothers by their first names?

Maybe it’s generational. Maybe Owen’s generation WILL call their friend’s moms by their first names. And maybe it won’t seem weird then.

What do your kids call your friends? Their teachers? Do you feel weird introducing people as Mr. or Mrs.?