Our Noble Pursuits

Living the good life. And writing about it.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


A while ago, I wrote a post in which I wondered how exactly it was that Annie was going to learn to talk.  I wondered what our responsibility was, as parents, to educate her about language and how she was going to go from basically just looking at us to full-fledged communication with us.  Well, I wonder no more…

Is anyone else astounded by how much toddlers pick up on without our knowledge of them doing it?  Are David and I the only parents who talk at night about all the ways Annie showed us during the day that she understands far more than we give her credit for?  Because those talks happen more and more often now around the Noble homestead.
My favorites.  And this is Annie's "oh" face.
Once upon a time, I wondered if I needed to go through Annie’s word/picture flashcards or her “100 First Words” books with her more regularly than I had been.  I wondered if it was my job to sit with her with the sole goal of language development in mind, going over pictures and letters.  Boy, did I underestimate her ability to figure that stuff out on her own.

While Annie still doesn’t say very much (maybe 5 or 6 words total) – she prefers a sharp “Uh!” and pointing to communicate her wants and needs at this point in the game – she understands, well, more than I even know.  Just as an example…last night, she grabbed a hairbrush from the bathroom while David was getting her ready for bed and started brushing her hair with it.  Beyond that, when David instructed her to “go show Mommy your hairbrush,” she looked at him as if to say, “Hey!  That’s a good idea.” And then ran into the kitchen where I was, to…you guessed it, show me her hairbrush.  We never showed her a picture of a hairbrush, never explained to her how to use it, never went through the process of explaining how one goes about showing anybody anything, and David didn’t tell her where she could find me in the house.  She just knew all of that on her own.  From watching us.  From hearing us talk to her and to each other.  From being a part of our household. 
This look says, "Seriously, Mom?  You think I don't notice the barrette you stuck in my hair?"
And this wasn’t an isolated incident.  She does stuff like that all the time.  This morning, as I was getting her out of her car seat at school, I asked her if she wanted to go inside and see her teacher, Ms. Kim, and her friends, the other babies.  I no sooner got the question out of my mouth than she sat forward in her seat, ready to be picked up, smiled brightly, and said something that sounded an awful lot to this mama’s ears like “Yeah!”  I am convinced she knew exactly what I said, and got further evidence of her understanding when she insisted on walking all the way down the school hallway by herself and, once she entered her classroom, ran straight to Ms. Kim, arms open, for a hug.  Baby girl understood my question in the car and was excited to do exactly what I had suggested.
A little croquet action with her sweet friend Stella.  And yes, they do match.

I don’t say all this to say my child is a genius – although clearly she is… J - I am just realizing how much a child, any child, gathers from observation and repetition.  It’s really something to see…and the tiniest bit sobering to think about.


  1. The best thing you can do for Annie's language development is what you're already doing: read to her, talk to her, narrate what you're doing when you are at home together. Her brain will do the rest :)

  2. Our grandson, Henry, will be 2 next month. He has not broken forth in language yet, but oh, he clearly understands language. It's incredible - - really, miraculous. I kind-of like his way of getting his message across without words.