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Aug 5, 2009

New accomplishments of our 18-month old toddler: speaking, friends, etc...

During our recent trip to Yellowstone National Park, we had the chance to interact with Daniel 24/7 for 5 days, a change we appreciated much, considering that he usually goes to daycare full time. This gave us the chance to observe his latest developments and to teach him more French and German words. New words from the trip included Dampf (steam from the geysers), riviere (river), nuage/Wolke (cloud), tonnerre/Donner (thunderstorm), rouge/rot (red color) and the concept of colors in general.
On a side note, there is one word that Daniel always seems to get wrong, although he knows exactly what it means and how to use it: bateau (boat). Daniel knows how to pronounce the sounds "ba" and "to" separately, but his word for bateau is reverse "ta-bo". No matter how much we tried to correct it, Daniel was determined in calling boats "ta-bo" (or boats... he gets the English/German version right and can use it appropriately as well). At this age, we still think it's cute... We just hope this will get fixed by itself at some point.

A big milestone was the start of 2-word sentences. They are still very rare and require some prompting. But we noticed that Daniel is really starting to understand how words go together. Examples of sentences would include: more cookies, papa dodo (daddy is sleeping - this is still baby French, though), mama's shoes.
One day in particular, we were able to witness Daniel's first long sentence and how his brain was working processing it. It happened as we passed by a family with a little girl who was crying from hurting her foot when hiking. Daniel noticed it and described: pleure (cry). I responded with the full sentence: "oui, la petite fille pleure, elle a fait "owie" au pied". (yes, the little girl is crying, she hurt her foot). For the next 5 minutes, Daniel kept repeating the story his way:
tit'fille... pleure... owie... pied.
Wow! That is a lot of meaning coming out of his mouth. And what a focus, ignoring everything else that was happening around him to repeat this one story for 5 minutes.

Along the same lines of processing, Daniel made the connection between the many dead trees lying on the ground (from previous fires) and the fact that people/animals lie when sleeping. He kept pointing at the trees saying "Baum dodo" (trees are sleeping, although this is a mixture of German and French - we'll fix that later). So cute!

Other interesting observations from our trip included
* the fact that we are usually able to entertain Daniel for longer periods of time by just pointing at objects around us, whether we are in a plane or at dinner. Very convenient. Daniel now knows enough objects that we are usually able to find a long list of things to show him or ask him to find, and he enjoys playing along. He is starting to be interested in drawing with crayons (still mostly strikes, but he understands the concept of putting color on a drawing and enjoys it for a while). This helps a lot in restaurants.
* the fact that Daniel really missed his friends from daycare, and kept asking for them by their names all the time. This is quite recent, as he just started naming them in June. But his friendships have become so strong over the last few months that he literally was asking for his friends all the time. He was definitely very happy to be back home and go back to daycare.
And we were happy to have our routine back, although spending time as a family was great too!

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