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Monday, July 29, 2013

life lately: motherhood decisions

linking up with wild and precious today.

This girl!  She really, really wants to communicate.  She has quite a few words, but she's keenly aware that there are far more that she doesn't yet have in her vocabulary, and it frustrates her.

The result?  A lot of yelling around here.  "Uhhhh!  Uhhhh!"

I spent a few days mulling the whole thing over: Should I say, "No yelling"?  "Mama doesn't like that voice"?  "Can you use a nicer voice"?  In the end I just decided to say what I think she's trying to say, and to say it in a nice voice, and to not address the yelling per se.  So our conversations go something like this:

Nell: Uhhhhh!  Ahhhhh!
Sarah: "Water, please, Mama!  May I please have my water cup?"

Nell: Ahhhhhh!  AAAAAHHHHH!
Sarah: "Book, please, Mama!  Will you read me a book?"

Sarah: "Help me, please, Mama!"

And so on.

I'm actually less bothered by the grating sound of her yells now that I've consciously decided I'm not under some sort of parental obligation to do much of anything about it.  She already has at least a dozen words... the others she's looking for will come in time, right?

I know, it's a long, long process, this helping children find their words.

But I like to hope that by the time she's eighteen she'll be able to eloquently express her feelings with honesty and accuracy.

Oh Nell, we love you so.


  1. One of the most rewarding aspects of parenting in the last few years has been seeing our boys start to learn how to really use their words to express their feelings. For example, the child who instead of walloping his brother throws himself on the couch, flails his feet and hands and yells to me "I want to hit him, I really really REALLY want to hit him!!!" :) Hey, it is TOTALLY PROGRESS!!

    Or on a more serious note, the child who comes in after an altercation with a friend and tells us with tears that he made a bad choice and yelled at his friend, and now how does he fix that?

    Or the child who used to refuse to speak at all when upset, but now will say "I'm really sad/mad/frustrated right now because of X".

    All of that came about because of parental modeling, very similar to what you're doing with Nell. I can attest that it works, so good for you!! :)

  2. My Nathan, who turned 16 last month, was the king of the "uhhhh" until he was about 22 months old. He had about the same size vocabulary as Nell. I kept thinking he was behind but I knew he understood everything I said so I didn't worry too much. He was just taking it all in. When he started to finally talk it was straight to sentences within a month. It was crazy fast! :) Keep the faith and be patient!