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There's Only So Much Brain Power...

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

...so I think she's putting it into learning rather than talking.

As you know, we've had ongoing frustrations with the fact that Elnora doesn't talk. She has about a dozen words now, and she's slowly adding them, but she doesn't seem to have a real interest in speaking yet.

What's even more challening is that one word often means a dozen things. For instance "Dee" means "juice," "Bindi" the doll, "potty," and "I want that" among other things. That can be a challenge when she's screaming "dee" and I think she wants juice but she actually has to pee. (That happened just last week...)

The sign language helps though...she's starting to learn to pair the sign with the word, so at least I know what she wants. In fact, this morning she woke up and came out to the living room. She pointed to herself, signed "sleep" and pointed to her room. I asked if she was asleep in there and she said "dah." (yes) Then she signed "drink" and "eat" and I asked if she wanted breakfast. Again, the response was "dah."

Life is getting a bit easier.

So, in my ongoing need to feel like my child really is quite intelligent and just doesn't feel like speaking, I must share her latest accomplishment.

The kid can count!

No, seriously! She can count! :)

Over the weekend, we went to visit a friend (hi Judy!) and Elnora was fascinated with her cats. Unfortunately, the cats wanted nothing to do with Elnora. During the course of the "sort-of" conversation with her about the cats, she started fiddling with her fingers. Then she held up her hand to show us her first two fingers.

"Two? Are there two cats?"


I laughed and thought, ok...whatever.

Then last night, she started lining things up. (She loves to line things up.) She lined up three pillows on the floor and then put a wash cloth in front of each of them. (blankets...very tiny blankets...)

Greg had heard the cat story, so he said "how many pillows are there Ellie?"

She looked...then fiddled with her hands...then held up three fingers.

So now I'm curious just how high she can count. I got her to do "four" a few minutes ago when I showed her four stickers from her Elmo book.

I can't imagine she can go past five...but then, I wouldn't have thought she could count to four either. (On the other hand, when I took one away from the four, she told me there were two left, so apparently, we need to work on subtraction...lol.)

I think I'm going to start buying the Signing Times DVDs. We only get them for a few days from the library and she really enjoys them. I'm really curious to find out what she knows now and I don't think I'm patient enough to wait for her to start talking...


  1. Anonymous Alena | 11:19 AM |  

    Haha! Elnora speaks Russian. "Dah" means "yes" in Russian :)

  2. Blogger Judy | 12:46 PM |  

    Hi Jen!

    If you would have stayed a bit, Jack would have warmed up to her. Marty would have growled and hissed and scratched her if given the opportunity. He has issues.

    There are also different kinds of intelligence. I am good at math and logical thought, but I am weak speaking on the spot and putting my thoughts together quickly. Spoken language may not be her thing. Since she has words and language she'll most likely learn to speak like a normal person but might not be the super verbal know use 8 million descriptive words like my niece talking about the "constellations" on her ceiling when she was 18 months. She's 7 and hasn't quit talking yet. Or maybe some synapse in her brain will finally connect and then she'll neeeeever shut up.

    I guess we'll just wait and see.

  3. Blogger Jennifer | 12:50 PM |  

    "Or maybe some synapse in her brain will finally connect and then she'll neeeeever shut up."

    That's what worries me.

    Mom tells me that when I was 3, she'd start praying for my brother to come home because she just wanted someone else for me to "talk at."

    She sent me to preschool when I was 3.5 because I had way too much to say for only her to be listening.

    LOL...bet you guys would have NEVER guessed that I was the talkative type...

  4. Blogger MamaBean | 1:36 PM |  

    I was thinking the same thing as I was reading your post (not about you being loquacious lol). My niece didn't really say much at the age of 2 or so but now she's 3 and talks no matter who is listening. She is full of questions and full of beans and is a delight to hang around.

    I hope you will reread your own blog when Elnora turns 11 and wants her own phone line.


  5. Anonymous pupa | 9:39 PM |  

    Kids are funny that way...
    Maybe if you stopped "understanding" her "language" she'd be forced to start speaking in order to get what she wants?

  6. Blogger Jennifer | 5:01 AM |  

    I'll tell you the same thing I've told everyone else that has offered up that advice... (i.e. "stop giving her what she wants until she says the word.)

    That only works if you know they can say the words. For instance, if she's said milk, but just doesn't want to say it other times because she's in the habit of saying "mana" or whatever.

    If she's never said the word (and she's only ever said about 12 words, all of which she immediately started using on a regular basis) you can't do it...because for all we know, she's not physically capable of saying the word.

    So instead, we do a lot of..

    "What do you want Nora? Can you tell us with your words or your hands?...What? Mana? Do you want Milk? Ma ma ma millllllk? Can you say milk?"

    And then she gets what she wants.

    This is why we're teaching her sign language, to bridge the language gap until she catches up.

  7. Blogger Kind of Crunchy Mama | 11:50 AM |  

    You are doing fine Jen. One day it will click and her vocabulary and grammar will grow by leaps and bounds.

    And WTG on the counting!

  8. Blogger The Fluffy Ewe | 11:53 AM |  

    I agree that you cannot force a child to use words that they have not learned. All that will do is lead to frustration and possibly even more delays in speaking.

    I think it's wonderful that she is using sign to tell you what she wants. Heck, alot of the 2yo tantrums are due to the fact that your kiddo can't tell you verbally what s/he needs and just has a frustration meltdown. WTG Nora! :)

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