Monday, March 28, 2011

Being sick kills braincells

Oooh, betcha thought I was talking about me on this one, yes? 

For once, in reference to having no braincells, I am officially not talking about myself.

In fact... I'm talking about Leah.  Because I'm convinced that being sick has stunted her vocabulary (at least for now). 

Here's my total geek-out minute.  Are you ready?

In times of stress, trauma, or - I'm guessing - illness, the language center of the brain is one of the first things to shut down in children.  Well, adults too, which is why when you get really, really angry, you probably aren't very articulate.  It's really clear in kids.  Take a toddler who normally commands a lot of language, get him upset, and he will probably shout something simple like "NO!" while stamping his feet and hitting, biting or throwing things.  Yep.  That's because the rational side of the brain - the one that also controls language - gets taken over by the more primative, emotional side. 

(Turns out I was actually paying attention during my childhood development classes in grad school!)

So back to my point...

Since Leah has been sick, all her amazing language skills have reverted back three months, and everything has once again become "dada." 

Me: "Leah, do you like cheese?"
Leah: "Dada."
Me: "Leah, do you see the doggie?"
Leah: "Da. Dada"
Me: "Would you like a banana for lunch?"
Leah: "Daaaadadada." 
Me: "I love you, Leah."
Leah: "Da."

It's a very interesting process, to watch it in action.  I certainly hope she'll start feeling better soon.  I was loving the newfound conversations we've been able to have recently, and calling everything "dada" wasn't exactly what I had in mind!

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