The Language of Raegan Leigh

Raegan is on the verge of exploding with language. First of all, she understands everything. It really doesn’t matter what command we give her or statement we make in front of her, she gets it and gives indications that she gets it. In typical toddler fashion, though, many of these indications are looks that she throws our way as she does the exact opposite of what we asked but her eyes say it all – she’s not confused, she’s testing (which is perhaps another post for another time). We’ve been noticing this level of comprehension for some time now, but it seems that lately she’s all over all of it. Pretty cool.

The words Raegan actually uses are increasing all the time, too. Of course her favorites (“Daddy!!” and “NO!” and “Uh-oh!” and “Cup!”) are still in constant rotation, but she’s starting to pick up on more and more words (unfortunately “Cookie” or, in her terms “Cook! Cook!”, is one of them) as well as more names. On our recent trip to South Dakota, she picked up “Grandpa”, “Grandma” and even “Ozzie” (who is one of our former pups who now lives with Gpa and Gma). Now, two weeks later, I am still hearing about “Gamppa” and “Gamma” and, of course, always “Ozzie! Ozzie!” all the time. She identifies these individuals in photos she sees around our house but also in conversation. If she hears any mention of Grandpa, or Grandma, she will look at me, grin, and start chanting Ozzie’s name. The girl’s got some mad association skills!

She’s also picking up on names for her brothers. While RL is the one who first coined “Linc” as a nickname for the new baby, it is HD’s nickname (that I so desperately wanted to avoid, even more so than “Linc”!), “Linky”, that seems to be sticking. She asks about Linky (somehow spelling that with a “c” looks very strange) all the time, especially if she hears him cry or I enter the room holding him. Clearly I am still not a huge fan of this name for my newest babe, but I do at least understand it now. When you have more than one child and the older child(ren) is trying to learn the younger one’s name, it is just way too easy for them to shorten it and add a “y” to the end. When I think back about how Raegan became Raegge, it all makes perfect sense; the only difference is that I thought that nickname was cute from the get-go, so I didn’t mind Harrison calling his sister by it. Raegan also became Raegs, and I have heard HD refer to LT as “Lincs” occasionally which I think I could get behind easier than Linky, but we’ll see. Obviously the children are driving the bus on this one. The irony of all this name testing and changing is that “Harrison” is the one name we were OK with, prior to his birth, of shortening with a “y”. We had no qualms with Harry as a nickname but then there was no one around who needed to shorten his name when he was a baby and so Harrison he remains. I suppose it could still happen via Raegan, but she’s taken to referring to him as a garbly version of “Brudder”, so unless we introduce “Harry” for her, I’m not sure she’ll get there.

Speaking of garbles, when I say that RL is SO close to being full of words, I should clarify that most of them don’t sound like proper members of the English language. Much of what comes out her mouth is garbly gook that even Ben and I can’t understand and we’re the ones around her all the time, so I certainly don’t expect others to know what she’s saying. Granted, some of it is decipherable. For instance, when she says, “I sheck” I know she means “I’ll check” because she’s off to go see what Daddy or HD are doing. Or when she says “Shews” or “Poddy”, it is pretty easy to translate. But while she can usually get her point across with her crazy and emphatic pointing skills, there are plenty of times I’m left at a lost. Today she went running for the sun porch saying something that sounded like “Eat Apple!” but there were no apples on the porch and therefore I have no idea what that was all about.

I should also mention Raegan’s constant use of the words “Sit” and “Seat” where she definitely adds an “H” after the each “S”….it often sounds like she is cussing with both an American and British accent in the same “sentence” and Ben and I have a hard time not losing it when she does. It’s way too funny because she has no idea what she’s actually saying.

Confusion and misplaced letters aside, it is pretty awesome having a front row seat to Raegan’s language acquisition. Harrison was so entertaining at this age, too, so I can only imagine what Little Girl will add to our Toddler Lexicon. I will do my best to keep you posted on some of the gems!

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