Saturday, December 27, 2008

Happy Holidays!

It's been awhile since I posted. The semester came to a crashing conclusion with overmuch grading, and between that and preparing to fly to Wisconsin, where my parents live, we've been pretty busy.

One of Ben's favorite presents so far is a beautiful orange blanket that his Great Aunt Kathy knitted for him. Whenever he sees it, he says "oynee, oynee, oynee!!" (That's his version of "orange".) We snuggle under it while reading books. Speaking of books, he got a ton of them, and his current favorite is "Is Your Mama a Llama?".

He also got several airplane-related gifts, in keeping with his current airplane obsession. Usually about every fifteen minutes or so his thoughts turn to airplanes, and he'll point to the nearest window and say, hopefully, "appuh?" It's been very cloudy lately, both here in Wisconsin and also back home in New York, so we haven't had much luck spotting appuhs. He was very excited to ride in two different appuhs to get here, although we spent far too much time in airports waiting for weather-delayed appuhs.

We've been celebrating both Christmas and Hanukah. He really likes lighting the menorah every night and playing with his dreidel. Christmas morning was almost too exciting, and we couldn't "opah" the presents quickly enough for him.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Dadda's Eye!

Ben put together his first two-word sentence tonight! He pointed to Neil's eye and said, "Dadda eye!" We were flabbergasted!

I think it was mostly accidental -- he was thinking about both "Dadda" and "eye," and they just came out together. But of course that's the way it usually goes with language and other developments. He does something by accident, we dive in there with the praise and adulation, and with repetition it becomes purposeful and meaningful.

On Thursday, we went to BHSC to get Ben's new ear mold (for his hearing aid), and while we were there the director of the oral-deaf program gave him a language assessment. (We had requested this. We were pretty sure that he was doing very well, but we wanted to make sure we weren't missing anything.) She was very impressed. He is either at or beyond all language milestones for his age, even for a typical hearing child.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Can we build it?

Yes we can! Ben is a regular Bob the Builder groupie these days. It all started when the pediatrician's nurse gave him a Bob the Builder action figure as a present. He thought this was pretty cool. Then we discovered that we have the "Sprout on Demand" channel, which lets us watch any of a number of PBS and BBC kids shows whenever we want. So we watched some Thomas the Tank Engine and Bob the Builder episodes. He liked Thomas, but he absolutely adored Bob. Now whenever he needs a Bob fix, he'll point to the TV and say "Bob Bob Bob!!"

Well, specifically, he loves the Bob theme song. After that, the actual show itself can't compete with whatever toys or books are lying around near him. Neil and I are more into the show than he is. But at the end of the show, when the music starts up again, Ben tunes back in. Yesterday, he was completely absorbed in a book, his back to the TV. The theme song started, and Ben bolted upright, his mouth wide open. He turned to the TV and watched the credits roll, listening to the music with a look of transcendent glee on his face.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Doctor-induced wagging

You know how Ben wags his finger whenever he hears the lines "The mama called the doctor, the doctor said...." from "Five Little Monkeys"? Well, this morning Neil said to Ben, "We're going to the doctor's office to get a flu shot," and Ben started wagging his finger! So he hears and understands the word "doctor" even when it's in a completely different context.

In other news, Ben is really making progress with expressive language. There are days when he's a bit on the quiet side, or he reverts to old patterns of vocalization (primarily vowels, or the same few repeated consonant sounds). But on most days he's pretty talkative. His most impressive word so far is apple, which comes out like "aaaapp". He also says Mama, Dadda, bye-bye, kitty ("gedda"), can ("guh"), Bob (as in Bob the Builder -- he has become a devout Bob fan), more ("mo-mo"), and bubble ("ba-ba"), and he makes brave attempts at a variety of other words. He can also tell you what sound a horse, sheep, or lion makes. Yesterday he was saying "knee" and pointing to his knee. When we ask him to make various consonant sounds (e.g. "ma-ma", beginning with m, b, g, w, n, or d), he is pretty good at imitating us. He still prefers repeated syllables rather than mixing up different consonants, so the speech therapist is currently working on what is called "variegated" babbling. Also, he seems to be a little behind in what the experts call "jargon", which is babbling with adult-like inflection ("Ba ba GA ga wa goo?"). However, I think that in most respects his expressive language is either right on target or even a little ahead. And his little voice is so sweet and lyrical!