Thursday, January 12, 2012

Did you say my name?

Do babies enjoy hearing their name?  The question is debatable; but I know, without a doubt, that my little munchkin loves the sound of hers and looks forward to hearing it whenever she can.

As I’ve said before, my daughter’s name, Nandi, means “strong-willed” and “sweet”.  And to this day, she’s been living up to both definitions.  I picked her up from daycare one day, and her teacher said, “Miss Nandi is becoming bossy; and do you know that she’s very strong?!”  I couldn’t help but laugh – yep, my little lady will let you know if she doesn’t like something or someone, for that matter.

But back to how she enjoys hearing the sound of her name.  When anyone says “Nandi,” she’ll turn her head in acknowledgement.  Sometimes, I’ll sing, “Twinkle, Twinkle” or just make up a song with her name in it, and she’ll give me the most adorable, toothless grin I’ve ever seen.

During “reading time,” she wants to hear her name, too.  Right now, her favorite book is Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.  I’ll say, “Chicka chicka, boom boom, Nandi!  Will there be enough room?”  She’ll look at me with wonder and let out a delightful squeal, followed by a string of babble as she tugs on the books’ pages.  Now when she’s zeroed in on her favorite toy or eating a full-course meal (baby food, mind you), she’ll simply (and deliberately) ignore you.

Besides hearing her name, the little lady loves attention, not to mention being a bit nosy.  Over the holidays, we spent time with friends and relatives in Arkansas.  At her grandparents’ home, there was a constant flow of people stopping by to see Miss Nandi; and the crazy thing is that I think she knew it! Her regular afternoon naps were tossed to the side at this point, but she was fighting sleep with all of her might.  Someone would hold her, talk and play with her and then we’d see her eyes droop and finally close shut.  I’d get her situated for a nap – and five minutes later, she’d be up smiling, kicking and waving her arms all over the place.  Finally, I just decided not to disturb her if she fell asleep in someone’s arms.

During one of her “holiday cat naps,” as I call them, she woke up a few minutes before a group of people were leaving her grandparents’ house.  She heard the loud talking and laughing, and instead of being upset that we had disturbed her peaceful siesta, she started bucking and babbling.  It was like she wanted to join in on the conversation, too.  If a seven-and-a half-month-old could talk, I’m sure she would have said, “Don’t try and sneak outta here without saying good-bye to me!”  She truly did not want to miss anything; and at night, she’d be so exhausted and fussy from lack of sleep, it was pitiful. On the drive back to Texas, I think she was awake a total of thirty minutes, out of the entire five-and-a-half-hour trip.  She was pooped.

So, I’ve given an example or two about how Nandi enjoys attention and cannot help being nosy, but back to the main topic – how she loves the sound of her name. Baby experts say name recognition usually begins around five or six months of age; and the more you say your child’s name, the more it can help with language comprehension.  Out of all the unfamiliar jumble of sound, they can connect to one constant – their name.  And my husband and I try to say hers as often and as lovingly as possible.         We enjoy saying her name just as often as she loves to hear it.  I think she knows she has us both already wrapped around her little fingers.  The world definitely revolves around Miss Nandi – but neither one of us seem to mind, not one little bit.  I don’t think my husband and I would have it any other way.

Chandra is a Sr. Communications Specialist for Texas Health Resources and new Mom.

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