November 8, 2012

Second Child Vocabulary

I've said on a number of occasions (out loud as in: in conversations with real, live people) that parenting Ian did almost nothing to prepare me for the adventure of parenting Blake. They're two different creatures, those boys, and what it took to keep the first one fed and watered and happy and thriving just isn't the same recipe as what is needed for son numero due. That's not to say it's different worse, or even different better. It's just different different. Put another way, all of my tricks that once worked in magical ways with Ian are completely useless to me. From the minute he was born, we knew that Blake would teach us how to be different kinds of parents*. 

One of the things that struck us as wildly different from his older brother was the way in which Blake began acquiring language.....and the words he deemed to be most useful. What was further surprising was that words began to appear in Blake's vocabulary that took years longer to appear in Ian's. 

So what were these words/phrases?
"Mine"
"Blake's Turn"
"Move over"
"My [fill in the blank]"
the addition of the 's indicating possession
"Before"
"After"

It was very interesting to me to see Blake's use of prepositions come so much earlier than it did with Ian. But being a second child and needing to find his place in the scheme of things made sense. Ian never had to delineate what was "his," because...well...essentially everything was his. Ian didn't have to ask for turns, because I like to think that Joe and I have a really well-honed ability to gauge turn-taking.

It's been fascinating to see how Blake's vocabulary has been inextricably linked to his environment and to birth order--not really something I'd considered. It's just a testament to the fact that language is really a tool to help us make sense of (and fit into) our unique social paradigm.

Now the trick will be to see what Child #3 finds to be most worthwhile in his language acquisition process. (Or will it be more-of-the-same, but at a higher volume?)

*It wasn't long after that realization that we were clued into the fact that we were not parenting geniuses...but rather, that Ian was just an inherently easy baby. It had nothing to do with our skill and everything to do with his temperament. Go figure. 

6 comments:

Linda said...

and now he will be a Middle Child...!

Bridget said...

The fact that you are able to publicly say:

"It wasn't long after that realization that we were clued into the fact that we were not parenting geniuses...but rather, that Ian was just an inherently easy baby. It had nothing to do with our skill and everything to do with his temperament"

means that you ARE parenting genuises. Well done. I loved this post!

Sharalea said...

Trevor & I have this conversation OFTEN...how different each child is, how their birth order makes things different & especially the vocabulary! J never said "no! Mine!!"...but it is one of N's main exclamations.

Liz Johnson said...

I'm a big believer in birth order influencing a child's personality/learning/etc. Amen!

And ditto to Bridget's comment.

ixoj said...

Very interesting, especially about the prepositions.

Confession: I am eager to have children so I can analyze their linguistic development. But then, no surprise there, right?

JosephJ said...

No need to fully discount your mad parenting skillz, Jen. Keep in mind that for Ian, a) you had tons of energy with him being adopted (think hormones/healing), b) he got as much attention as he needed as a first child, c) I had a cushy enough schedule as a graduate student to help at home those first several months, d) you had much more sleep with Ian, since I took 4 nights a week.

I guess it's good Blake gets some one-on-one dad time in the mornings after Ian get's dropped off, eh?

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