Tuesday, August 29, 2006

What, she's not a genius?

In her Slate article The Infant Grammarian: The Genius of Baby Talk, Emily Bazelon sums up recent research into the development of infant language and concludes with what I've always suspected: that kids all end up talking fluently, no matter how quickly they pick up language. I consider myself lucky that Z is an early talker. She's not going to be two until November and she's already using multiple word sentences and pretty consistently good grammar. Sure, it's nice that I can glow with pride when strangers coo, "she has so many words," but the real luck is that I know what she wants (even if, as Bazelon points out, "I may not like what [she] has to say").

Parents can't help but compare their kids, and I've heard all kinds of theories about why some kids talk earlier than others: that they know sign language and thus are having their communication needs met, that they're exposed to older kids in day care who are already talking, that their parents are writers and thus they're genetically more verbal (wink wink)... the list goes on.

It's interesting to learn that actual research is going on in this field, even if it is probably more reassuring to moms and dads with kids more slow to talk. Now if they could only publish a reassuring book about tiny toddlers who don't eat!