conversations with your baby

Baby Pip is 6 months old. She has a personality, amusing facial expressions, and can interact with those around her. Whenever she sees a food or beverage, she grunts like a caveman and reaches for it. When she sees me cry or get mad (usually at the dog), she narrows her eyes and gets an impish smile. I'm truly enjoying my days at home with her, especially when I can make her laugh, or when I can get her to take a nap in my arms.

However, as any parent or person who spends time with young children can attest, I sometimes feel downright silly when I talk to her. As interactive as she is, I sometimes wonder if my attempts to teach her shapes, colors, numbers, the alphabet, or songs are fruitless. Is she retaining any of this information? Am I being a typical first time parent who thinks I need to teach my baby all kinds of ridiculous things?

According to this article, no! Babies are just trying to make sense of the world around them, and at 6 months are even starting to understand that the words we say are associated with the things and people around them.

Reading that study gave me the extra boost of energy I needed this week to continue reading bright board books, singing her Spanish songs, or even following her gaze and telling her the name of the thing she is looking at. Sometimes I feel awfully self-aware and ridiculous when I do those things, imagining scores of experienced parents laughing at my attempts to educate a 6 month old about the world around her. Probably, though, that's just human nature to second guess ourselves when we are undertaking a new job.

But the brain research is there. Babies probably understand way more than we give them credit for. So for now, I'll keep telling her that la nieve es blanca, and el perro ladra. We'll keep counting to diez, zehn, or dix during diaper changes. I'll keep exclaiming that her cereal es rico!  and how ese Pablo es tonto. I'll explain how those blocks are cuadrados and that toy is círculo. 

Pip is going to learn about the world around her whether I teach it to her or not. I don't have to get carried away with it (I don't make her listen to Mozart or force her to watch Baby Einstein videos), and there are definitely times I allow her to play by herself (within my line of sight) and discover things on her own. However, the more I talk to her, and respond when she vocalizes, the more she is going to understand. I am by no means in a race to have her reach milestones early, and I really could not care less about how she compares with other babies. I guess I'm just excited to share the beauty of our world and my love for the Spanish language with her. She really is by far my favorite student after all.

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