I can't begin to tell you how delighted I am that Eric is a highly verbal and expressive kid. What ever Meli and I are doing is certainly nurturing his nature. He is our son after all and that makes him equal parts bookish and expressive, if not downright cheeky!
When he was nearly 15 months, I wrote down all of his words (in no particular order);
star, car, ham, duck, dog, pea, bus, poo, shoes, sock, cup, hand, ball, bowl, butterfly (buuuh), bee, bee-aaah (cat), stick, light, park, box, mum, dad, croc, drag (dragon).
These 25 words or so were a perfect reflection of the things around him, the things we read, the things we ate, the things we did and the things that interested him.
Five months later I attempted to capture his words at 19 1/2 months old. It's not easy, because it's expanding at a rapid rate. Here's what I got down;
draw, pad, phone, box, bucket, bowl, plate, chair sit, book, guitar, pants, spoon, fork, mix, dance, TV, blocks, see-saw, pram, keys, door, nap[py] bus, bat, tree, flower, grass, sand, bath, ear, mouth, hair, chin, feet, toe, leg, arm, eye, neck, head, hat, tum, doodie, bum, poo, pee, more, flap, floor, [dim-]sum, pond, chomp, bat, gone, fall, broken, all, bag, tea, cup, come, here, mine, stop, wait, hey, fun, inside, outside, up, down, open, close, drink, milk, strawb[erry], egg, meat, play, no, park, slide, swing, eat, grape, gram (grandma), grump (grandpa), roll, bun[ny], climb, cream, cool, frog, horse, cat, dog, pig, bear, ma (Jemima), dragon, fish, bee, bird, duck, Hump[ty], bear, pot, buzz, tap, bub[ble], giraffe, tray, tea, ballon, see, sun, moon, towel, button, ball, rain, wet, cook, pan, Tom, square, queen, green, blue, red, plane, train, tram, bus, beep, okay, glove, [orangu]tang, dolphin, done, hen, hat, hug, bib, bed, light, on, pea, milk, guy, straw, talk, walk, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, dip, teeth, comb, bean, please, broccoli, apple, plum, orange, fox, jug, cup, stuck, again, pen, baby, game, ted, burp, pardon, ah-huh, no, okay, red, blue, black, white, brown.
It doesn't seem like much, but that's nearly 200 words. As a parent with a toddler, that simply makes our lives infinitely easier. What these words only partly reflect is the conceptual stuff that Eric understands — which is way beyond his vocabulary. Simply put, we can ask him questions and he can say "ah-huh" or "no".
If the first words you can encourage your child to speak are an affirmative or a negative, be they "yes", "no", "yup", "nah" or whatever, it'll make your life a whole lot easier. I realise that I lot of kids learn "no" first, I guess we're lucky that Eric understood them both pretty early.
What's especially interesting is the impact that Meli and I have had on his language during the holiday break while we've both been around.
We've been able to encourage his manners more — instead of standing at our feet and saying "UP UP!", he now stands at our feet and pleads "Up, pleeease." He is forming a strong conceptual understanding of "Please" and what it means for getting stuff or simply bossing people around. He's coupling it with a bunch of his verbs; "Down please", "Sit please", "Draw please". In all of these cases these are things he wants Meli or I do to — put him down, sit with him, or draw for him. We're delighted that he's bossy.
Eric is coupling a lot more than his verbs and is very actively working on describing things; "Red car" and "Big train".
The coolest word though and the one I'm most proud to hear him say — his name, Eric.