You hear random words. Some strung together, but not necessarily with intent. Then suddenly the first tiny sentence comes out of no where and you are floored. You know the vocabulary and comprehension is already there, but Savannah was taking her sweet time to verbalize. Today was the day – I walked in and said “Hi, Savannah,” and she answered right back without hesitation, “Hi Da-Da.” It was beyond cute and I want to remember August 10th as the day it happened.
With a full day scheduled with the relatives, dad’s day with the baby was going to be extremely limited. This may not seem like a big deal, but it’s a very rare occurrence for Maddie and her dad to be separated for any extended period of time.
Knowing this beforehand, I had to make the most of my time with Maddie. The baby sounded the wakeup call some time before 6am. After her bottle we spent some time playing on the floor and then headed outside.
We had some serious talking to do during breakfast, so we hit our usual spots and then headed for the stone benches at the city courthouse. I swung the stroller around to face me and we started eating our breakfast.
We made jokes together and I talked about father and daughter stuff. Maddie didn’t really seem to understand our conversation, but she definitely seems to enjoy it. Of course Maddie isn’t speaking yet, but that has yet to negatively impact the depth of our conversations.
About halfway through our meal, Maddie started proclaiming her thoughts in some unintelligible baby talk. This seemed to delight several commuters that were on their way to the path station. The louder Maddie got, the more attention she captured. And the more attention she got with her antics, the more entertaining this little show became.
Maddie is highly tuned into her surroundings now and is already showing signs of being hyper-observant like her father. I let her entertain the general public for about ten extra minutes before finally packing her up and heading home.
It was a strange feeling knowing that I was leaving her for the day, but I am already charged up and ready to make it up to her tomorrow.
Maddie can’t speak yet, but she is announcing her presence with authority. A weekend surrounded by family really has her communication skills soaring. It may not be English, but her screeches, groans, gurgles and infectious giggles tell us that Maddie has a great deal to say.
She is becoming more and more opinionated with each passing day and her progression is both impressive and adorable at the same time. Some studies note that more than 90 percent of communication effectiveness is determined by nonverbal cues. If that’s the case, Maddie is coming through loud and clear.
Her keen powers of observation coupled with her sense of humor indicate that she is more than ready to start speaking. She is always lighting people up with that perpetual smile. Maddie has already mastered the high-octane scream coupled with her prolific raspberry splatter patterns. But what’s most interesting is that little words seem to be popping up in her babble.
Maddie has always been fascinated by speech and always watches intently as we speak. She often works her mouth as if she is trying to tell us something. Little words like “hi” and “night, night” seem to be creeping into her verbal landscape a bit more each day.
I’m not sure when Maddie will actually begin to speak, but she doesn’t seem terribly interested in waiting much longer.
At 8-months-old, Maddie has yet to speak a single sentence – but this morning she decided to unveil a new form of communication with her grandmother. It’s raw, guttural and sounds like the baby is roughly clearing her throat. But this is her new chosen mode of communication to share with her grandmother aka MiMi.
Although this language is a little rough around the edges and is a little bizarre, it is most certainly laced with affection. MiMi props Maddie up on her leg and starts speaking to her. Suddenly these terrifically forceful grunts/throat-clearing noises erupt from somewhere deep within the baby.
We have never seen Maddie so adamant to be heard and understood. This phenomenon took shape during the course of the day where Maddie got to hang out not only with her grandparents, but two of her great-grandparents as well. The house was blessed with several family members and Maddie batted her eyes and happily interacted with all of them.
But once she was back with MiMi, the Planet of the Apes noises started all over again. It’s obvious that many of us are unknowingly encouraging this behavior. And no one is guiltier of it than I am. It is nearly impossible not to be entertained by such a sweet and adorable little girl that is sounding off like a rabid junkyard dog straining at the leash.
Maddie has a very keen eye for things that direct attention towards her. It is definitely something for us to keep in mind as the baby becomes more and more advanced.
What we really hope is that she doesn’t decide to communicate with everyone with this roughshod little language of hers. Trust me when I say the general public is not ready for it. We are hoping that over a short period of time that these verbal eruptions might smooth out a bit and become a bit more gregarious.
Maddie has a real ear for important telephone calls; the only problem is that she now feels compelled to participate. The more important the call, the more likely she is to interject some of her feelings on the matter.
As you might have guessed, as much we love our four and half month old baby girl; she is still not quite ready for the conference call circuit.
This recent need to speak out during calls has been especially daunting for my wife Gina. As soon as Gina goes into business mode and answers a call, Maddie suddenly feels excluded and left out of the process and is not afraid to speak up about it.
As soon as a call starts, I know I have a 25 second window to snatch my little time bomb before she goes off like tornado siren and shatters the eardrum of the person who’s dared to call in during Maddie’s time.
It’s so funny, when I scoop up Maddie, she acts like the E-Trade baby – “Hey, what do you think your doing? I’ve got something relevant to add to this. I’ve got the inside scoop on tomorrow’s Fed decision!”
I make my break for Maddie’s room as she ramps up the volume with every step I take. The baby refuses to take this indignity lying down and assures me that I haven’t heard the last of this.
Once we are behind closed doors, it takes a full five minutes to distract her from the fact that she got blocked from her mother’s call.
So far, my extraction procedure hasn’t run into any hitches, but we know it’s just a matter of time before the baby gets her ten cents in and the person on the other end of the line is treated to a startling commentary peppered with screams, slobber and maybe even a few snorts.
Just after being put in her swing yesterday, Madeleine decided to introduce us to her newly acquired and exciting range of verbal skills. As the swing made its arduous journey back and forth, Maddie decided that she was ready to open up and share some of her unique communication techniques.
It sounded like simple gurgling, clicking and grunting at first – but then we realized that through the strong influences of Plato, Aristotle and Cicero, Maddie was debating us on the merits of this swing and her placement onto this primitive device.
Perhaps she was not directly engaging us, but for more than 70 minutes, she seemed most intent on sharing some ancient cosmic message with anybody who was in earshot.
Whether it was simple gibberish, platitudes or a series of essays on the meaning of life – we were not sophisticated enough to decipher these messages. In this case, the message was not as important as was her method of delivery. Each sound that emanated from this little girl was punctuated with an intensity and focus that was not to be ignored.
This enigmatic little speech might have held the briefest of warnings for us, as to what we might expect as she gets a little bit older. When Maddie is awake, her level of concentration borders on the severe. She is acutely tuned in to her surroundings and is gathering and organizing input from the outside world at a dizzying pace.
When her eyes are open, she is hard at work, trying to dust off that infant haze and make sense of the environment around her. Stay Home PaPa has tried to tell her to take it easy.
Time and time again, I’ve told her, “Honey, if you want to reinvent Schrödinger’s Cat, let’s hold off until you are at least a month old.”
Yet she assures me that Erwin had it all wrong and has already developed her own principles of quantum theory – the question is now, will she share them?