Saturday, September 15, 2012

Manners, Manners

It has been a while since I have mentioned anything about Amelia's development. Mostly, I've been griping about work and failed weekend getaways. Never fear, Amelia is healthy and happy and well.... a talker. We saw early signs that this was going to be her strength, but it still amazes me daily that she can say so much and speak so clearly. I'm not sure that I can claim much responsibility for this. I have always talked to Amelia a lot and never really did much baby talk with her even when she was an infant. However, it often seems like my reading to her is infrequent and that she watches entirely too much TV since I work from home. The only thing that saves me from feeling guilty about the amount of TV she views is that she has probably gained a fair amount of vocabulary from it.

And, I doubt she learned the phrase "Oh, shit" from the TV. I will take the blame for that one.

In any case, her most notable speech development recently has been learning manner words. I have tried hard to model this from the beginning. My parents and family are big on manners. I rarely recall getting away with asking for something at home without saying "please". If I forgot to use that word, I either didn't get what I wanted or I got the evil eye and quickly rephrased my request. While I found it terribly annoying as a teen, it is certainly something that I'm grateful for as an adult, particularly when I am speaking with students (or parents) that are lacking in the manners department.

We started first with Amelia saying please when she asked for something. This started out as "PEEEESSSEEE?????", then went to signing please when she refused to say the word. This sign is supposed to be rubbing the middle of your chest in a circular motion. Usually she looks like she is rubbing both of her nipples, which I find to be fairly hilarious. We went on for a few months with her saying only this phrase, but me continuing to tell her to say thank you, you're welcome, I'm sorry, and excuse me.

I should note here that this sometimes gets me some odd looks. Amelia is rather petite, so although she will be two in November, she is still wearing mostly 18 month clothing. And, I think that people have this perception that if a child can't say something, then you shouldn't ask them to. I think they forget, though, that one day she will say those words because I've been telling her for months to do just that.

And now she is. Although not always correctly placed.

This became apparent last week when I sneezed and Amelia quickly said "Sorry, Mommy!" This was particularly funny because Amelia has had an increase in some mildly aggressive behavior-- towards me only-- since my husband started working a different shift. I have a variety of ways that I handle this, but my approach always includes telling her to say "I'm sorry"-- which she never does because she doesn't really understand those words yet. But since I view it as planting the seed to grow good manners and respect, I keep telling her to say it. And she is. When I sneeze. And also when she runs into the dog. But never to me when she hits me.

It's a work in progress.

Another phrase that we've been working on is "thank you". Growing up as an only child, I have heard the false belief that I must be spoiled, and therefore do not appreciate what I have. I'm sure people have realized from some of my posts that this is not the case, and it is of course important to me that Amelia be grateful as well. And she seems to be, as evidenced by her saying "thank-you-you're-welcome" when I hand her a cup of milk.

Finally, we have the words 'excuse me', which she says as "excuse you" because that's what I've been telling her. I don't know why it didn't occur to me to tell her "Say excuse me" instead, just as I have with all of the other phrases, but it does make me laugh when I sneeze and she says "EXCUUUUUSSEE YOU!!".

We are still working on 'bless you'. Parenthood. Always something to improve upon :)
Learning good manners is exhausting

1 comment:

Hillary said...

Good for you. Graham is aggressive only towards me which is very frustrating. I feel your pain. I think it's great you're teaching her manners and that she's so vocal. G is very physical and the words are slow in coming.