How I Wonder What You Said

I turned in The Beaner's application to the nearby Montessori pre-school yesterday. (Long story about odds of him getting in; I'll probably explain in more detail at a later date.) Two of the questions on the Child Profile were "At what age did your child start speaking?", and the follow-up "Does s/he speak in 2-3 word phrases or sentences?"

I actually had to look up when The Beaner started speaking here in the blog (another reason I need to back up this site regularly: it's essentially our Baby Book), but the answer to Part B was a resounding yes. Every day The Beaner comes out with longer and longer sentences, and his pronounciation is improving by leaps and bounds, too. (Not everyone can understand everything he says, and we still sometimes have trouble with new words when they're said out of context, but his language skills are so far beyond what they were just a month ago that it amazes me.) He carefully repeats every new word we share with him, sounding like nothing so much as a student learning a foreign language. And then he stores it away, waiting for an opportunity to use the new word in a sentence. He's a vocabulary lesson cliché.

He still enjoys singing in almost-gibberish—and often as fast as he possibly can—but every now and then we hear a phrase come out so perfectly in the middle of a song that we do a double-take. This isn't the best version of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star we've heard him belt out (he usually gets the part about "like a [mumble] in the sky" right, and he muffs it here), but it's representative of his enthusiasm for singing and his grasp of a few key phrases:

twinkle, twinkle little star

He seems to know it's the season for Christmas music now; whereas he rejected every one of my attempts to sing Winter Wonderland or Let It Snow back in October, he now eagerly requests "laughing all da way" (Jingle Bells) and "look at da show" (Sleigh Ride) when I snuggle him to sleep at night. He's also started a new bedtime ritual: the Slew of Questions. "What happened to Daddy? [He's downstairs, watching PTI.] Ooohhhh, PTI. What happened to Mommy? [I'm right here.] What happened to {beaner}? [You're right here, too.] Yeah, {beaner}'s right here. What happened to white Saab? [Grandma and Grandpa drove it home to their house.] What happened to black Jeep? [I'm not sure, honey. Maybe it's downstairs.] Maybe it's inna room. [It might be; I think I saw it in the kitchen.] Maybe it's in the chicken." (Inexplicably, he switches back and forth between "inna" and "in the".)

Yesterday after his birthday party, The Beaner also started calling his friend M, whom he's always referred to somewhat confusingly as "Muh-muh", by her real name. He's gone from saying "hep, peesh" (which sounded very similar to "up, please") to saying "I need help, please, Daddy." And then there's the ever-popular (and surprisingly specific) "I want watch Elmo onna DVD. No Tivo, no! DVD! What happened to DVD player?"

This newfound verbal sharing, the ability to have a conversation with our kid is why—among other reasons—this difficult month of parenting has also been one of such joy. It's really true: It does get better and better.

Posted by Lori in parenthood at 11:01 PM on December 1, 2006

Comments

Is it hard to get into a "good" preschool in Philly? There was an post a month or two ago in the San Francisco Chronicle parenting blog about preschools in the city and that it is "harder to get into a "good" preschool in San Francisco than it is to get into Harvard".

Posted by: heidivoltmer [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 5, 2006 3:24 PM

I don't have any experience on that front yet, though I've heard horror stories from other parents in other cities. I'll let you know what happens with the school to which we applied.

It's very possible that The Beaner won't be accepted this fall simply because of his age. He'll be 2 years 9 months, which is the minimum, but they limit the number of kids they accept at that end of the age range because they require more attention than kids over 3. The other things that could keep him from getting in:

- not being potty trained (we're working on that now and hope to have it mastered by early spring)
- not being "ready" (there's an interview where they assess how well they think he'd do in a Montessori classroom)
- the school not having enough spots (first priority is given to returning students, followed by siblings of returning students, so the number of open spots varies from year to year)

We figure we'll leave it up to fate and see what happens. If we don't get in this year, he'll still be eligible to start next September (2008), and we don't have to pay the modest application fee again. We can also look into other preschool options (which we haven't done yet), or we could skip preschool altogether and keep him at home until he's ready for kindergarten. (Aside from sharecare at the house of a woman my mom knew from church, that was the route I took as a child. It didn't seem to do me any harm.) I'm not going to stress over it from a what's-best-for-the-Beaner perspective; I just refuse to get caught up in the competitive-parent frenzy. I might stress over it from a financial perspective, though: As expensive as some pre-schools are, they pale in comparison with a full-time nanny.

Posted by: Lori [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 5, 2006 5:30 PM

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