Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Exasperation: Words & Identity

Tyler is trying so hard to be a part of conversations and to be understood when he speaks. Sometimes his words sound very similar, or just off enough that I am left clueless as to what he is talking about. Before, I could make up a conversation with him. The jabber was entertaining and he didn't mind that I lead the conversation where I wanted it to go. We were completely happy not understanding each other.

Things have changed within the past few weeks, and last week it became even more apparent to me that I no longer get to choose what he is telling me, sniff-sniff it is no longer baby jabber. Well… actually, it is jabber but he can talk to me and tell me things in broken conversation. He understands what I am talking about, but I don’t always understand what he is talking about. It’s like we speak 2 different languages and he is more fluent than me. This frustrates him so much.

On Friday, last week, we were talking on the way home. I was telling him that we were going to pick up Tucker and we would play with him when we got home. Tyler hopped in the conversation, yet I could not understand what he was telling me. I guessed over and over again, but each time, growing more and more frustrated, Tyler would tell me, “No… shut.” It‘s funny that he repeats the word as if I don’t understand but I should. I had no idea what he was talking about and I finally just agreed, nodded my head, and acted like I knew exactly what he was talking about.

Of course I was still repeating it over and over in my head trying to figure out what he was talking about. In my defense I was driving and it can be a little hard to understand him from the back seat, but I had to laugh at how frustrated he was with me. When we got to the house to pick up Tucker from Memaw’s fenced in yard, Tyler repeats his self again. “Oh!” I said, “You were telling me I had to shut the gate.” He then answered me with a sort of exasperated, “Yeah.” Believe me he has facial expressions to match his tone, and he was so relieved I finally understood.
The exasperated tone shows up as well when I try to lead him along with what he wants to do. He has priorities and they are play, play, and juice. For example, just the other day I wanted to take him outside for a walk. He wanted to stay inside and play with his trains and cars. I tried over and over to get him outside. “Tyler would you like to go outside and play?” I would ask in an excited way. I know after the seventh time of my asking he probably thought that I was not listening to him because he became more and more dramatic. He would point to the ground where he was standing, frown and wrinkle his nose, and say “Play!” or “Stay!” in a very frustrated tone. This went on for a while and sometimes I ask multiple times because he will change his mind and be very excited. I just wanted to make sure he knew the option was still available, but I guess I need to learn that he will let me know if he changes his mind. It does not hurt for me to suggest, right?

He also makes sure we know who he is, Ty-Ty. He is very aware of his name now and when we call him pet names like Booger, Mommy’s Baby, or even sweetheart we get corrected. He will first tell us ‘No’ then quickly tell us ‘Ty-Ty’ nice and slowly so we understand. Believe me the more we fight it the more serious he speaks and sometimes with tears. I don’t think he understands that we know his name we just want to give him a nick name. Maybe he just likes correcting us already.

His words are still hard to understand even for his mom and dad and his sense of identity is becoming stronger and stronger. This all makes for some pretty funny responses back and forth and I know that sometimes we both want to give up, but he comes so far each and every day with new words and intonation. It will not be long and he will be speaking in complete sentences and it will be even more evident what is on his mind. I already miss the stages we have come through but every day is so exciting to get to talk with my family.

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