March 28, 2005

The Boy Child blew me away

The Boy Child has plenty of words, but he never uses them in combination, never forms a sentence. I have not really formed a view as to his intellect. I mean, he seems to be all there but who can tell? This weekend changed that. By way of background, his maternal grandmother, (mor mor, in Norwegian), lives in Central America right now and speaks perfect Spanish. When the Boy Child, who is just barely two years old, says her name, he pronounces it as "moo moo". Not uncommon for little Norwegian children to say that, I'm told. By way of comparison, he now calls my father, "dude". My father loves that.

So, we were all sitting around the dinner table, playing around, singing the Sesame Street song, when I turned to the Boy Child and we had the following exchange:

Me: Donde esta Plaza Sesamo?

BC: Moo Moo. [as if to say, go ask Moo Moo].

Me: [stunned silence as my wife and I look at each other and I say to my wife] Was that an accident? Do you think he did that on purpose?

Wife: I have no idea.

Me: [to boy child] Hvem er det som snakker Spansk? [translation from Norwegian: who is it who speaks Spanish?]

BC: [confidently, shaking his head for emphasis] Moo moo.

If I had any doubts about him, they are gone as of now. Da Boy is all there.

Posted by Random Penseur at March 28, 2005 04:47 PM

Multi-lingual children have a different language acquisition curve than mono-linguals. However, studies have shown that by the age of 5 they are incredibly fast at learning additional languages and are able to retain and process more information than mono-lingual children.

You just may have a little Einstein on your hands... the quiet, shy, observant, retiring type.

Posted by: michele at March 28, 2005 06:04 PM

Hmmm. Michele might be onto something. The shaking of the head for emphasis might be frustration that you've asked him such a simple question as if to say "Yo, dude. Do not patronize me!" Heh.

BTW, and just from my own memories of growing up, I think that "Do you understand?" is a horrible question to be asked in any context. If a kid doesn't get it s/he'll say "Huh?!". Asking it will usually be taken as either an insult or an assault, depending on the context. But, maybe that's just me...

Posted by: Tuning Spork at March 28, 2005 10:51 PM

I have no statistics to give you; but I'll just say that it's been my experience that up until about age five, they're sponges.

In fact, I spoke perfect -- without a hint of an accent -- Spanish at age 5 with a woman hired to take care of me and my little brother.

We were forced into other arrangements and went to a daycare situation.

I no longer can speak Spanish like a native. (I can, however, understand far more than I can speak which, is an advantage of sorts. Heh.)

I never had a doubt your BC was as whip-smart as your GC. It's good genes, buddy. Good genes. ;)

Posted by: Margi at March 29, 2005 03:37 AM

I've found from both experience and observation that the second child in the family often isn't as verbally motivated as the first-born. After all, if the first-born can talk for them, (and first borns *love* to talk for their sibs, don't they?) why bother? *grins*

Has zip to do with intelligence. My son let his sister talk for him for a very long time. He's now 23 and, believe me, he has grown into one of the smartest people I've ever had the privilege to know.

My brother didn't walk for a very long time. Why? Everyone carried him about; why bother? Finally he got so large, my mom couldn't cart him about so easily anymore so one day he just stood up and walked over to whatever it was he wanted, much to everyone's shock. And he just kept walking after that. When he got to school, he tested with a 165 IQ. Today he is an accomplished musician and has been very successful.

My Dan, the second-born in his family, didn't talk at all until he was three years old. Again, he had an older sister who had filled in for him when necessary. Dan also has a high IQ and I know you've read his blog; he's an articulate guy today. :-)

Sounds like Da Boy is more than "all there" to me. :-)

Posted by: Amber at March 29, 2005 02:33 PM

That's a great story, he sounds very smart indeed.

My little guy surprises us all the time, and he's exactly like BC, he gets frustrated if you can't understand him, or ask him if he understands, or repeat something that he knows to him.

Yesterday he made us laugh, I asked him where his bottle was he said "In the place I go ny ny". He's 2 1/2 but he knows where all his stuff is, unless of course someone has moved it on him.

Posted by: Oorgo at March 30, 2005 12:58 PM
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