How we gonna tame you down? Part I
“You're wild. Wild, I say! You're everywhere.
You’re all over the place. No order at all. None.
Okay, maybe there’s some structure somewhere.
But I don't think so.
You’re just wild and outta control!”
Whose voice is that speaking up so boldly?
Is that you going all judgmental about your friend's child?
Is it your parents discussing their grandchild's behavior the minute you'd waved that last goodbye?
Ah, more likely, it's that senior back there in the store, the one whose stare stung you. If only, if only your toddler had held onto all that drama till the two of you had made your escape.
No. This voice is none of the above. This bold voice
brash though timid,
noisy though silent,
experienced though inexperienced
is the voice of curiosity, the voice of every infant
and nonverbal toddler before their oral language development allows them the words
to make known all those fundamentally urgent queries.
Okay, you're thinking. If not me nor my screaming child, who is it who’s been cast in that "wild and outta control" role? For the lowdown on this uniquely wild cast of characters, let's hear more from your own little casting director.
What can they be, all these
wild things? They are so outta control!
And there are so many of them. I can’t tell
you how many cause I can't count yet.
‘Sides, there are way too many to count.
And they keep moving. And changing.
I'll never figure it all out.
Hmm? What's my baby trying to tell me? What’s she mean by things? And how are they wild and outta control? I don’t get it. What’s all that about how they keep moving? And changing?
To get it, let's listen in to more thoughts of any baby during any waking moment of any busy day of daily living. It's a wise little voice we hear, one who's asking for foundational guidance in the development of oral language skills... and help in learning knowledge about the world, the two pre-requisites for success in reading, writing, and all learning. This little voice needs us to hear more thoughts...
Here's how I see it. If someone would tell me what they are, then I'd know how to tell you all about what I know. What I mean is what are all these things I see everywhere? Do they go with sounds? Sounds like... me? I mean, everyone looks at me and says the same sounds every time.
So when I hear those sounds, I pay attention. Yeah! I'm beginning to think those sounds mean ME. And if those sounds go with ME, then are there sounds that go with all those things out there? Those things that are everywhere? Those things that keep moving and changing? You see what I mean? You see why I think they're... outta control?
Yes, Baby begins to get the idea that particular sounds carry meaning. After all, you and everyone are forever saying your new baby's name. And soon, she pays rapt attention, though, in truth, she has no clue it's her name. She's only responding because she hears sounds repeated.
She has also noticed that those repeated sounds are accompanied by a smiling face, one that comes very close to her own and looks right at her. Research and experience have long told us that babies love faces.*
Indeed, she likes the face and the sounds. Now, let's return to the carefully-planned script Baby wants us to hear... to hear what and how Baby would like us to give structure to all those things.
I'll be happy when they notice that I want to know what to call things. For example, they're always saying sounds like "doggie" for one of those things I see.
They sometimes say those "doggie" sounds when I don't see that thing. But I hear something. And they say those "doggie" sounds when I see things that are sorta-same-but-sorta-different-looking things.
My point is, I pay attention when I hear "doggie" sounds cause when I pay attention, they smile and say those sounds again. Oh, I really like that! I hope they’ll make more sounds soon! Bring ‘em on. I"m ready!
If not before, we now know more about how preverbal babies and toddlers view their environment. We know they"re needing to make sense of a massive jungle of jumbled things. And bringing on more sounds is where it all begins. I like to call this process one of "Taming by Naming" –giving names, or nouns, to all those things that babies see.
We've noticed that Baby's first words are usually nouns. That’s because nouns are the first words we model for them. We name Baby and ourselves, and then we proceed to name things: kitty, bottle, pacifier, blankie, bed, swing, high chair, first solid foods, and the like. As Baby grows, so grows our list of nouns.
Playing the age-old game of "I Spy" invites you to use nouns to point out and name objects for your baby. In this "Taming-by-Naming"™ game,you’ll do all the work until Baby can point to objects you'll name. Be sure to point first to your eye as you say, "I spy with my little eye [pause] a [name and point to an object you see]." Begin with a few familiar spied objects and repeat their nouns often. Your younger or less language-experienced child will appreciate your adding new nouns slowly.
Let's stop for now and let your own list of nouns and their sounds begin. Then come back
In the interim, send me a comment here below. And check out my book titled Little Books of Nouns at http://www.babsyb.com/collections/books/products/little-book-of-nouns
This book contains all sorts of ideas and activities,along with words you can substitute in with a familiar tune to sing about the three kinds of nouns and all that they do.
Nouns for your baby? You bet! Beginning such songs with your infant develops familiarity with language and knowledge that’s useful for life.
The Nouns book also contains 14 little rhyming books about nouns. You can add these 14 books to your home library and use them with your child in differing ways for many years to come.
Without a doubt, your little casting director has presented a fun and interactive script for you, your child’s first best teacher.
Enjoy building your child’s storehouse of knowledge while you're developing oral language experiences. And all the while, you're taming that wild world of things for your baby, one noun at-a-time.
Also save 10% on your Babsy B order by using the coupon code: blog @ checkout.
~ Babsy B
See more from Babsy B at:
Taming-by-Naming is a trademark of Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz.
Here at elitemamablog.com this time next month for more tips in my “Hey you! How we gonna tame you down? Part II” where we’ll explore more Taming-by-Naming games you can play, along with more reasons to play such games every day with your baby, toddler, or your nonverbal or ELL child of any age.
Copyright © 2015 Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz
FacetoFace: A Book to Read to Your Baby © 1989 Joseph F.
Fagan & Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz