Thursday, April 15, 2010

Language Bomb

I'm not the type to worry about milestones for my children, but Geni's lack of speech had me in a tailspin. I think part of the problem is how verbally oriented I am, and how easy it was to communicate with Max when he was her age.

So Geni turned four and I just kept waiting for that magical moment when we could actually converse. And it's starting to happen. She's been at a Waldorf preschool for four months now, with one teacher who speaks only English and the other only Spanish, and it has set up the ideal support network and stimulation for her.

Geni now speaks in whole phrases in English and Spanish, and asks and answers short questions in English. She lets me read and read to her, when she used to throw the book across the room.

She code-switches, using Spanish around her Oaxacan friends and English around her foreign friends.

I still wait for the big things, the stories, the abstract concepts, the back and forth of true conversation, but now I see it's possible. I cannot believe that four months in her new school (plus all of her skills therapy) are enough to push her to this new level. One of her teachers, the wonderful Suzana described it to me as "a language explosion."

Her favorite phrases: "I don't want it." "Where's daddy?" "Go to school?" "I'm Genevieve. I'm Geni." Yes you are, Geni, and I'm very proud of you.