Tuesday, June 10, 2014


I noticed recently that I like my niece a whole more than I like my nephew. This makes me a terrible person.

It's not his fault, it's just that he has a long was to go before he is nearly as cool as his sister. She was pretty interesting when she was learning how to walk and talk and stuff, but she's way more exciting now that she has ideas and questions and plays pretend. Meanwhile, her brother just turned two, and the walking and talking stuff seems pretty boring by comparison.

It doesn't help that my niece was speech-delayed and then caught up very suddenly, leading me to believe that language acquisition was a fairly expedient process. I totally thought that kids started talking and then used that as their primary form of communication.

Actually, it turns out that language acquisition is a very slow process that begins with the kid pointing at things and making sounds. According to people with kids, this counts as "talking". My nephew has been "talking" for a year now and I still hear nothing but gibberish. The adults he has lived with (my sister, her husband, and my parents up until a year ago) all know what those sounds mean, and can't understand why I don't respond when he babbles a string of syllables at me.

I assume he will eventually start speaking intelligible words like a normal person, but for now our linguistic divide makes it difficult for us to relate. I am perpetually finding things to bring my niece, usually stuff I was going to get rid of and realized she would enjoy. This means I almost always come bearing treasures for her, usually with nothing for my nephew. I imagine at some point I will start finding things for him too, probably when he gets more interesting and less equally amused by binoculars and paper towel rolls. Otherwise I have no idea how I'm going to handle my desire to bring bags of wonderful things just for niece.

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