One of my new favorite grandmotherly things to do is to keep an ongoing diary of my granddaughters' newly spoken words.
Every time I hear them say a new word, I write it down, the day it was said and how it was used in a sentence. Then, a week or two later, I make a game out of it by repeating the words and asking them to use the words in a sentence.
Tilleigh, 5, has an amazing vocabulary. When she was barely 3, she was directing plays and giving me lines to recite.
Evie, 2, only recently began talking in sentences. Though we understand most of what she says, she seems to have developed a language of her own -- a language that her sister totally comprehends.
Sometimes it's surprising, or even comical, when she unleashes a new word.
Last week, for example, when she called her big sister "idiot," it came out plain as day. Not unlike the "I hate you" she said to me days earlier.
Of course, she doesn't have a clue what "idiot" or "I hate you" means. She did, though, use them in proper context. Her big sister was bothering her when she uttered "idiot" for the first time. And she said "I hate you" when I told her it was bedtime (followed soon by an "I love you").
Still, we realize she is repeating words she hears.
I'm a stickler for shielding my granddaughters from curse words. I realize it's an impossible task. Though I have been known to say a few myself on occasion, I don't curse in front of my granddaughters. Ever. And I try my best not to let anyone else either.
Why would we teach our children words that could get them in trouble? I shudder to think the scolding and/or punishment Evie will get if she, one day, calls her teacher "idiot."
Evie was told that calling someone "idiot" was ugly. We've only heard her say it once since then.
The "ugly" words, though, pale to the good ones she's frequently saying today.
"Why" is her most frequently spoken phrase, with "you're mean" running a close second.
Hearing "I love you" melts my heart, as does "snuggle me, Mom."
It's a joy to be around this 2-year-old as she's learning to verbally express herself. It's also an incredible experience to converse with an articulate 5-year-old who loves sharing her newly learned words with her grandmother.
It's also hugely entertaining.
Feature writer Karen Nazor Hill covers fashion, design, home and gardening, pets, entertainment, human interest features and more. She also is an occasional news reporter and the Town Talk columnist. She previously worked for the Catholic newspaper Tennessee Register and was a reporter at the Chattanooga Free Press from 1985 to 1999, when the newspaper merged with the Chattanooga Times. She won a Society of Professional Journalists Golden Press third-place award in feature writing for ...