Words, words, words

April 26, 2021, Hailey Cain

 Since her first birthday, it seems like Delilah’s vocabulary and understanding of words has just exploded. With the most recent addition of the word hi, she now knows nine words.  When she wakes up in the morning or from a nap and when someone she knows walks into the room she says, “Hi,” and smiles really big. It’s the sweetest thing I’ve ever heard!

When I say she knows the words, I mean that she not just says them, but also attaches them to their meaning. On top of the words she can say there’s also an even longer list of words she knows but doesn’t say. We’ve also managed to teach her a few words in baby sign language. 

Delilah’s first word was Doggo, which is what she calls our dogs Diesel and Wash. Before learning Doggo, she could make and put different sounds together like Ma-ma, Da-da, or Ba-ba, but she didn’t attach any meaning to the sounds. Doggo was the first word that I could tell she knew what it meant when she said. Some mornings it’s the first word that comes out of her mouth because she wants to call them to come see her. I know I’ve said this a million times but this girl loves her dogs!

Delilah has been saying Ma-ma and Da-da for a while but it was only in the last two months that she’s really shown an understanding. She started pointing at or tapping me and saying Ma-ma and she’ll do the same to pictures of her dad and say Da-da. And somehow, she also learned to point to me and say, “Da-da” as a joke, always giggling when she does it.

Another word she’s recently learned is baby. When pointing to her dad and I and calling us Ma-ma and Da-da, she points to herself and says, “Baby.” My guess is that she learned that from when I say, “Where’s my baby?” while giving her a big hug when I come home from work.


She also learned it from seeing other babies and playing with her baby dolls. She gives her baby dolls big hugs while rocking side to side and saying, “Awwwhhh, baby!” And when she refers to herself as baby she’ll hug herself, too. It makes me feel good to know that she has an understanding that you’re supposed to love and cuddle babies when you hold them. Guess that means all the hugs we give her are working!

On top of the new words Delilah can say, I noticed her understanding of words has expanded recently even though she doesn’t say them yet. For instance, she understands when I talk about one of her toys, or when I ask her to bring something to me she will grab it without me pointing to it. One day she wanted her bag of blocks open, so I asked her to bring them to me and she carried the whole bag over to me. Delilah is also incredibly polite! She says thank you when she hands you something and when you hand something to her. 

When we noticed Delilah’s understanding of words growing, we started playing little games to teach her new words. One of my favorites to do when we’re sitting together is to ask her to show me her toes or ears. She loves it and from doing this she’s learned to show me her toes, ears, belly, and sometimes her nose!