“When my birthday comes, Baby Baby will pop out*, and you will wash some socks, then Baby Baby can wear them!”
I count that as one sentence (the meaning of which I’ll explain shortly) comprised of twenty-one words. Really, it’s only nineteen since “Baby Baby” refers to a single entity, but it’s a long sentence either way. This was part of her breakfast-time conversation this morning.
According to the AAP’s Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5, a two-year-old “speaks with a rapidly growing vocabulary of fifty or more words” (330). “Over the course of this year, he’ll graduate from two- or three-word sentences…to those with four, five, or even six words (‘Where’s the ball, Daddy?’ ‘Dolly sit in my lap”)” (330). At three years of age, her active vocabulary should have expanded to at least three hundred words and she will “be able to talk in sentences of three to four words and imitate most adult speech sounds” (367). She will still be “learning to use pronouns such as ‘I,’ ‘me,’ ‘mine,’ and ‘you'” (369). With a four year old, his vocabulary “will have expanded to around 1,500 words by now, and it will grow by another 1,000 or so over the course of this year. He now can tell elaborate stories using relatively complex sentences of up to eight words” (395).
At a little over fifteen months, my daughter had a vocabulary of at least sixty-four words (I kept track for a little while). I don’t even think I could hazard a guess as to how many words she knows now, although I love the fact that she can identify and name the comb and the wattle on a chicken! I do know that she doesn’t really get her pronouns mixed up, and I think she has the ability to string together some pretty long and interesting sentences, as evinced above.
Of course, I’m her mama. I’m particularly prone to being proud. It’s part of the territory, right?
And she’s my only, so she gets most of my time and attention…but not for long.
That’s where Baby Baby comes in. We’ve told our daughter that around her birthday, she’ll have a brother or sister. The other morning, she woke up and, unprompted, patted my belly and said, “Hi, Baby Baby!” This is something she thinks about. She and her daddy got new socks the other day, so apparently, she’s thinking of socks, too. And babies should wear socks…you wouldn’t want their feet to get cold. She LOVES babies…but that’s probably a story for another post.
So my daughter will be a sister, and she understands that, as far as she’s capable of understanding – and she can express those thoughts, too, in a pretty long sentence. You go, girl. You’re going to make one heck of a big sister.
*Can I help it if I’m hoping that she’s right – that she’s got some small lock on a prophecy of the baby just popping out, quick and painless, when the time comes?
Shelov, Steven P., Tanya Remer Altmann, and Robert E. Hannemann, eds. Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5. 5th ed. USA: Bantam Books, 2009. Print.