Tuesday, September 6, 2011

How much does your toddler really understand?

Now that the nibble is 20 months old, the hubby and I are beginning to realize that we have to censor ourselves a bit more. And not just in the obvious we-don't-want-him-repeating-the-f-word sort of way either.

What I wouldn't give to find out exactly how much of our daily conversations he actually understands. He's extremely social and has always attempted to participate in our discussions - laughing when we laugh, making the same facial expressions and hand gestures, and chiming in with a few strings of babble. I remember when the hubby left the house headed over to Chap's at 8 a.m. for his free growlers on April Fool's Day (yes, that was a joke) and I couldn't stop laughing from the second he locked the door until he called me realizing it was a joke. The nibble couldn't have possibly known what was going on, but he laughed the entire time too. And that just made me laugh harder.

But lately, I've been beginning to wonder how much he really does understand. At dinner the other day, the hubby mentioned something about "hot lovin'," and the nibble made a noise that sounded exactly like a bed creaking. A noise that neither of us has ever heard him make before. We looked at each other in shock and then both laughed and said "there's no way." Note to us: Do not talk about sex at the dinner table.

During bathtime a few nights ago, the hubby was making a comparison between the expressions of the nibble and those of a friend's child (who is a close friend of the nibble's). Agreeing, I stated the nibble has a million different faces for every possible situation and the friend only has one - and then made the mistake of duplicating that expression. For the next 20 minutes, the nibble kept making the expression himself and then laughing. And when I asked him who that was supposed to be, he clearly said his friend's name. Second note to us: Do not talk about anyone he knows in a way we wouldn't want repeated.

I looked for some insight on BabyCenter, a site that I do find quite helpful as a first-time mom. For Understanding Speech and Concepts at 19 to 24 Months, it states: By now, your child can understand simple questions such as "Do you want more milk?" Huh. He's been able to answer that one for the past nine months.

I suppose we'll never actually know what he understands at 20 months. So I guess we need to err on the side of caution and dial back our jokes and adult conversations. At least for the discussions that take place before 8:15 p.m.

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