Yea for Two Daddys!

From the official White House proclamation for Father’s Day  (emphasis added):

An active, committed father makes a lasting difference in the life of a child. When fathers are not present, their children and families cope with an absence government cannot fill. Across America, foster and adoptive fathers respond to this need, providing safe and loving homes for children facing hardships. Men are also making compassionate commitments outside the home by serving as mentors, tutors, or big brothers to young people in their community. Together, we can support the guiding presence of male role models in the lives of countless young people who stand to gain from it. Nurturing families come in many forms, and children may be raised by a father and mother, a single father, two fathers, a step father, a grandfather, or caring guardian.

Note that “two fathers AND a mom” is not listed, (blended families have actually been somewhat dissed in the above letter), but HEY – progress!

Oh, and note – I am now back from vacation – and you-all are owed at least one post on 3 adults (one mommy, an auntie and an uncle) taking a barely potty-trained 2.5 year old  to a primitive camping site for 10 days, bracketed by two , 2-day car rides (13ish hours total one way). WheeeEEEeeeee…..zzzzzzzzzzzz…snore.

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Language Research from Daddy-N

Daddy-N is a news-aholic.  And WCB has been an opportunity for him to research child development stuff galore.  He came up with this cool stuff recently about language development.  In order to respect copyright law, I am unable to paste the specific paragraphs/sections he refers to in his post, and the referenced web page has very sparse navigation options.  I have done my best to direct you to the right parts of this very long article he is talking about.  Enjoy! OLM

 I got curious and googled some on infant language.  Thought I’d share some interesting excerpts from Daniel Kies‘ work below.  WCB seems way ahead of the curve discussed in the chronology listed in this excerpt [5 paragraphs above this section, both physically and linguistically – but there are some interesting findings that could be helpful.  I’m often certain, for example, that WCB is trying hard to tell us things sometimes that we’re just not getting.

I think we should try to pay more attention to one of the points under Communication before Language  [10th – 13th paragraphs under the Crying, Cooing, & Babbling header] that “prosodic” features like pitch & intonation are used much more by infants than the actual consonants and vowels chosen.  They give the example of how for one child “MA-ma” meant “mother” and “ma-MA” meant ‘father” – perhaps WCB is already saying “mother” intentionally by some variation of her “da’s,” and there might even be a distinction already between Daddy-O & Daddy-N somewhere in there.

On the other side of the language equation, the other day I had a profound revelation about just how much language WCB understands, even though she won’t be able to make her own language on the same level for a long time to come.  I told WCB, “you have a sock on your tunnel!” – and she turned to look exactly at the sock on her play tunnel.  Surprised, I decided to test her, and said, “can you bring me the sock?”  And she immediately got the sock and handed it to me!  (And no, I wasn’t using hand gestures or in any way indicating my meaning with hand signals.)*  I find this fascinating especially given that she hardly ever wears socks, and the tunnel is pretty new to her, so both words have sunk in with little apparent effort.

Thus this excerpt about interacting verbally with little’uns [under Preconditions for Language Learning – 3rd-5th paragraphs under the Social Preconditions header] is worth paying attention to soon, as well. It implies that we need to focus on semantic expansion rather than just grammatical expansion when we repeat things back to her. 

*Isn’t Daddy N a proud papa? I think he’s just dying to talk with her. I know *I* wish I could know what she is thinking with that serious little face – or wanting with that frustrated-sounding “DAHT daht DAHT!”    OLM

A father’s expectations

So I asked Daddy N recently, “Was it what you expected?”

 

His response: “Easier, actually – not as bad as I thought – the awkwardness of “what do I do?” isn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I tell you what I didn’t expect was the germs. I mean I knew that babies got germs – that they were little disease vectors, and were often sick, but I didn’t realize I’d get everything she brought home full blown! I  thought… they were, you know,  “little baby germs” – that babies have no defenses so they get all the little germs that come along – ones that we could withstand. You know,  already have defenses for.”

 

“little baby germs” – ha ha ha

 

We return to our hacking coughs and lead brick sinuses now….thanks WCB.