Wednesday, October 31, 2007

petit singe

[posted by bkmarcus]
I didn't get his curly tail in any of these shots, and we had to take off his big simian feet because he was slipping and falling in them, but trust us: he was an adorable monkey (no, not a mouse; not a little bear), much cuter than these photos reveal:

And this is what greeted this year's trick-or-treaters, courtesy of Maman:
- papa


Halloween words

[posted by bkmarcus]

It was 2 years ago today that we first learned of Benjamin's existence.

That's why we call him the pumpkin.

His new words today are appropriate to the event:

  1. outside (pronounced "aside")
  2. pumpkin (pronounced "punkin")
- papa

Blogged with Flock

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007


[posted by bkmarcus]
Benjamin passed the 100-word mark on his vocabulary today:
  1. pancakes
  2. more
  3. manteau (coat)
  4. singe (monkey)
  5. peas
  6. prise (plug)
  7. melon (melon)
  8. Lucia (Benjamin's playmate, pronounced "see ya!")
  9. okay (pronounced 'kay)
  10. oopsy (said when spilling things)
  11. pique (sting, prick, or spear)
  12. Tess (short for Lutece, his favorite feline)
  13. phone (pronounced "shown")


Sunday, October 28, 2007

another pumpkin patch

[posted by bkmarcus]
Last weekend we went to an apple farm south of where we live. Today we went to a corn farm to the north. Today's farm had a smaller pumpkin patch but a lot more fun stuff for kids, including turkeys, chickens, lambs, rabbits, goats, and a donkey, plus playgrounds made of hay bales. There was also a cornfield maze (an amazing maze of maize), but it was too muddy to explore. Nathalie and Benjamin took the hayride while I wandered briefly into the muddy maze.

The sun was too low for me to get enough good pictures, but we do have these 2 — one of Benjamin playing in a box of corn kernels and one of him discovering the Halloween Hippity Hop®:

- papa


papa dodo

[posted by bkmarcus]
Benjamin has begun to combine words into little 2-word protosentences:
  • papa dodo (papa is sleeping)
  • sucette par terre (the pacifier is on the floor)
  • sucette dodo (the pacifier is for bedtime)
  • merci papa (thank you, papa)
  • more music
  • chausettes par terre (the socks are on the floor)
  • chaussures papa (these are papa's shoes)
  • more lait (more milk, pronounced "mo' tay")
- papa dodo
PS After I posted this, we all sat down to Sunday brunch: Maman's delicious pancakes.

So not only is Benjamin's latest word
  1. pancakes
but his latest 2-word combination is now
  • more pancakes


What does the pig say?

[posted by bkmarcus]
Apparently, the pig says

"Beep BEEP!"
- papa
(See also "What does the cow say?")

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

popcorn out loud

[posted by bkmarcus]
Benjamin's 90th word is "popcorn" — still his favorite food.*
  1. bubble bath (pronounced "bubba bath")
  2. minute (sometimes even "one minute")
  3. cils (eyelashes)
  4. socks
  5. popcorn
- papa
* His mother corrects me: apparently his favorite foods are shredded cheese and frozen blueberries.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Welcome to the world, Jacob!

[posted by Nat]
October 23, 2007
(Congrats to Susan and Philip. Susan is one of my childhood friends--one of the 3 musketeers, as my father called us. Jake joins Benjamin and Katarina to be the third musketeer of the next generation.)

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10 more

[posted by bkmarcus]
Nathalie told me last week that she thought Benjamin was entering a 1-new-word-per-day phase. I haven't blogged that claim because I hadn't observed it for myself, and I've definitely noticed days that didn't seem to advance his vocabulary. But it's been almost 10 days since I last blogged his new words, and darned if he doesn't have 10 new words:
  1. pluie ("rain")
  2. tartine (toast)
  3. house (pronounced "ash")
  4. patate (potato)
  5. Sam (pronounced "Sa!" and referring to Samantha Fay Capehart)
  6. music
  7. tasse (cup)
  8. choo choo
  9. penguin
  10. moto (motorcycle)
I'm especially excited by the word "music" because I first heard him saying it in combination with "more": more music was his first ASL "sentence" and now it's one of his early spoken-word combinations, as well.

Tasse was also exciting because I was showing him a picture book in his bath (a vinyl, waterproof picture book) and telling him the names of the different pictures. After I showed him a picture of a cup and said "cup," he pointed to the same picture and said tasse.
Me: "Honey! Does Benjamin say the word 'tasse' yet?"

Nathalie: Tasse? No, I don't think so!
I've also been trying to get him to say "train" for a while, but he wouldn't take to it. Then last night while we looked at a different picture book, I said "choo choo train" and he said "choo choo!"

We don't count something as a new word when he's just repeating what we've said, but I had the distinct impression he was saying "choo choo" to refer to the photograph of a train, so I reached for a box of toys and took out a wooden train set his Mamie gave him for his birthday.
"Benjamin, what's this?"

"Choo choo!"

I called his mother in to hear it. "Tell your mother what this is."

"Choo choo!"
- papa

P.S. Papa forgot to mention "bubble bath"—said with great enthusiasm. He seems to find it fun to say.


Saturday, October 20, 2007

Benjamin visits the Pumpkin Patch

[posted by bkmarcus]

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merci, papa

[posted by bkmarcus]
At the city market this morning, Benjamin got a balloon-animal hat, seen above, a poodle on a conquistador's helmet, by the looks of it.

Back home, Benjamin pulled on the poodle's nose and its head came undone, leaving what looked to my eye like a great blue brontosaurus, but Benjamin was upset. He wanted his blue poodle back. Nathalie came very close to restoring the poodle's head, but it wouldn't hold; the brontosaurus kept popping back. So I imitated what she had done, but with paternal confidence, and the poodle head held.

"Oh! Merci, Papa! Merci!" said Nathalie.

Then from Benjamin: "Mer-ci ... pa-pa ..."

He saw our excitement at his combining the words for the first time, so he smiled and continued. "Merci, papa. Merci, papa. Merci, papa ..."

You're welcome, beloved boy.

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

what are you doing, papa?

[posted by bkmarcus]


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

swings then and now

[posted by bkmarcus]
The first time I saw Benjamin swing:

December 2006, 5 months old

And Benjamin on the same swing 10 months later:

October 2007, 15 months old
- papa


2 for Tuesday

[posted by bkmarcus]
Benjamin's 2 new words for Tuesday:

pain (bread)


In fact, "slide" seems to be his new favorite word, judging by frequency of repetition and general enthusiasm in the use of the word.
- papa

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Sunday, October 14, 2007


[posted by bkmarcus]
Benjamin's new sign is for his new favorite food:

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Qu'est-ce que c'est?

[posted by bkmarcus]
Benjamin's new "word" right now is in fact a phrase: he started saying "ay say? ay say?" and Nathalie couldn't tell what it meant. My guess was that he was saying "Et c'est?" as in And this is called? And that over there is…?

Thursday the question evolved into "essay say? essay say?" And we suddenly realized he was asking Qu'est-ce que c'est? (What is it?)

We're about to enter a very exciting stage of his development.

New signs:
  1. airplane
  2. mosquito (pointing index finger to back of hand while saying moustique)
New words:
  1. coin-coin (French for "quack quack," baby French for duck, pronounced "kwan-kwan" [sort of])
  2. tchin-tchin (French for "cheers," said when toasting)
  3. orteil (toe, especially the big toe, pronounced "or-tay" or sometimes just "tay")
  4. balai (broom)
  5. bottes (boots)
  6. qu'est-ce que c'est? (French for "what is this?" pronounced "essay-say?")
  7. bouton (button)
  8. moustique (French for mosquito, pronounced "oo-teek" and said while signing)
Benjamin's vocabulary is mostly French. Some people have asked me if I feel like French and English are in competition in the household.

No, as I recently wrote his Mamie, I'm glad the emphasis is on French, partly because it helps me to learn more as he learns more, and also because I know that so much of his young life will be dominated by English — English with a Virginia accent, in fact. Our real challenge will be teaching him to read and write in both languages.
- Anglophone papa

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

broom broom

[posted by bkmarcus]
Benjamin's new sign is for airplane. He always does it when he hears one overhead, but he also does it when he hears loud construction vehicles in front of our house. I guess he thinks an airplane is landing in the front yard. That is, unfortunately, what it sometimes sounds like.

His new spoken word is balai (broom). Here he is showing actions speak louder than words:

- papa

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

15mo checkup

[posted by bkmarcus]
Height: 32¼ in (90th percentile)

Weight: 23 lb 12 oz (50th percentile)

No surprises. Healthy boy. Two shots.

Doctor W says Benjamin has a 2-year-old's vocabulary but not yet a 2-year-old's linguistic development, because he's only starting to combine words. He said a 15-month-old usually has a vocabulary of 5–10 words, so he was impressed that Benjamin has 60-something words and 20-something signs. He said linguistic development was the only sort of early development that correlated to intelligence. He seemed somewhat surprised that the bilingual household wasn't slowing him down. We, of course, think it's speeding him up.
- papa

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Saturday, October 06, 2007


[posted by bkmarcus]

Lucia and Grayson, age 2¼
Benjamin turned 15-months-old on Friday. A year and a quarter. This is a special age I've been looking forward to.

In the background of this photo you can see Lucia and Grayson, who have been Benjamin's playmates at Miss Angel's in recent months. I've cropped them in close-up to the right.

Like Benjamin, these kids were born the first week of July, but they were born in 2005, making them exactly a year older than him.

This means I've had a regular "peek ahead" in Benjamin's development, the sense that "This is what Benjamin will be up to a year from now."

Benjamin a year ago

The first time that happened, I was sitting on our back deck, looking at Miss Angel's trampoline, wherein Lucia and Grayson were walking around, comfortable on 2 feet, chasing rubber balls, and failing to say anything I recognized as words. They looked like babies to me, but they were so dramatically different from my baby boy. I asked Nathalie, "How old are those babies?" She told me they were 15 months old. Ah, so that's what Benjamin will be up to a year from now. That looks like fun. And here we are.

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mon-yee mon-yay

[posted by bkmarcus]
Overheard as I begin to compose this blog post:
Nathalie: Comment tu t'appelles? [What's your name?]
Benjamin: Bébé!

Benjamin developed a new favorite expression a few weeks ago, something we took to be nonsense, though it's persistent nonsense: monYEE monYAY!

We couldn't figure out what it meant, or where it came from.

Then last night, I tried to get Benjamin to say his name. After many rounds of …

Me: BEN!
Benjamin: Bébé!
Me: Say, BEN!
Benjamin: Bébé!

…I finally made a weird sort of progress:

Me: BEN!
Benjamin: Men!
Me: BEN!
Benjamin: Men!

Really? Does he pronounce his name with an initial M? He has so many B-words, it's hard to imagine.

Me: Try saying BEN-JA-MIN ...
Benjamin: MonYEEmon

Wait! That sounded familiar. Could his constant repetitions of MonYEEmonYAY have been an attempt to say his name?

Just a hypothesis at this point.

Meanwhile, his vocabulary continues to grow:
  1. peepee (scatological)
  2. popo (scatological)
  3. poot (scatological)
  4. ça (this, as in "What's this? Tell me what this is.")
  5. non ("no" — said all the time)
  6. assis (seated)
  7. dessin (drawing, said when he wanted to color)
  8. balloon
At now-over-60 words recorded, I feel the need to review how many of these are still active vocabulary.

I have not heard these words in many months:
  1. marcher (walk, pronounced "mash")
  2. porte (door, pronounced "pote")�
  3. dance (pronounced "dant" with more of an American accent than a French one)
  4. banane (banana, pronounced "bamam")
  5. monkey (pronounced "Maggie")
  6. change (now he just signs it)
Still, his active vocabulary is over 50 words at this point. He's "lost" (for now) 6 of his first 30 words and has kept using all the words he's learned since. Also, he clearly comprehends the words he no longer says, plus plenty more. It's all getting much harder to track.
- papa, the recordkeeper

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