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Friday, February 17, 2012

Babies CAN talk!

When I was a new mommy with Lilyanna, I remember watching an episode of Oprah (a show I do not watch any more, but once upon a time loved) where a guest speaker was on who wrote a book on the language of babies.  I thought it was an interesting idea and the premise of the speaker and her book was neat, but was it factually based?  I had no idea.  The woman who wrote the book (a title I cannot remember for the life of me, but probably something like Baby Whisperer or The Secret Language of Babies) has an audio-graphic memory, which means that she remembers and recalls just about everything that she hears with great ease.  She had her first baby and over the course of her time with her baby she recognized that she was "saying" the same "words" throughout the day and there was a pattern to the "words."  She realized that these repeated "words" were actually telling her the need of the baby and if she responded to these words, her baby was happy.

Up until this realization, she had not really paid attention to the sounds other babies made, but after this revelation in her own family, she began to hear other babies making the same "words".  This was even true when she traveled abroad for a business trip and heard the same words there too!  Now, she knew she was onto something.  Well, I decided that I would absolutely put her theories to the test with my daughter too.  And, I came to hear the exact same words come out of my newborn baby's mouth, as well as every other baby that we have had since.  The blessing that this knowledge has been for our family is significant.  I am thankful that I am able to respond to my babies and have a good idea what it is that they need when they fuss.

The "words" that the babies say are five-fold.  In no particular order, the first is "neh", which means hungry, or want to suck.  The second is "eh", which means "I need to burp" or upper digestive discomfort.  The third is "heh", which means pain or discomfort (I have heard this clearly when I accidentally scratch the baby with my nail when giving a diaper change, and one time when I accidentally clipped Lily's leg with the car seat buckle...ouch).  The fourth is "ooahh" (looks like an O in the mouth and sounds kind of wahh-ish), which means tired.  And, last but not least, the fifth is "arghh" (sounds like a deeper grunting noise), which means "I need to poop" or lower digestive "movement."  I regularly hear all of these sounds, which is so neat every time.

The thing I find fascinating about all of this is the adaptability of babies.  If a baby's word cues are heard and responded to in the initial weeks and months following birth, they will continue to make these sounds well throughout the first year, until another method of communication is provided (hand gestures, sign language, words, etc).  But, if a parent does not respond to these cues and the baby must cry in order to receive a response, they will simply stop "saying" the "words" around the two month mark and go straight into the method of communication that gets their needed response (i.e. they will simply cry more and get there more quickly if that is what they need to do for their parent to respond).  I find this so interesting.

I was able to capture a quick video of Taliya telling me she was hungry, so enjoy and tell me what you hear when you listen to your baby, or any baby, "talking".  =0)

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