"Ooooooh! Here are the yellow bananas! Yum yum! Bananas! Where do the bananas go? Over here, next to the bread box... Now what do we have? Ooooooh! Butter!"
Call me crazy, but the teacher in me was really happy with all the vocabulary I was sharing with my little girl. I was tucking in food names and kitchen words like "bread box" and "refrigerator," not to mention words like "in," "under," "next to." Every early childhood teacher knows how important all those words are.
L. loved looking at all the cool stuff coming out of the boxes, and stared at the doors of the cupboards opening to reveal what was inside and the shiny refrigerator door swinging open. She was totally entertained - and I was getting stuff done!
I started to get really into it. After the groceries were put away, L. was still happy, so I decided to try for the dishes too. Same thing:
"Yay! Here's the coffee cup I used this morning. It's empty now! I'm putting it into the dishwasher, right next to the cheese grater!"
When the dishes were done, I thought, hey, why not try to cook dinner? L.'s swing was on the side of the kitchen opposite the stove, so I didn't have to worry about any dangerous hot stuff getting near her, and she was very content to keep watching.
So I did a little cooking show for my daughter. I cooked macaroni and cheese, walking Baby L. through each step, bit by bit. I held up each of the ingredients to tell her all about them. I jingled the measuring spoons. I held the milk up close while I poured it from the container to the measuring cup. I even got to use MATH when I talked about measuring!
"Look Baby! Two and one-thirds cups of milk! Not the skim milk either. Whole milk-- yum yum! I'm putting it in the pot now!"
I know she's just a baby. But I also know that research has shown that talking to your baby helps build language and vocabulary. The more you talk to your child, the more words she learns. When L. is older she's probably going to roll her eyes at me and run the other direction. But for now, she's my captive audience while I feed her language and vocabulary!