It’s taken a while, but in his own way, the Monster’s found a way to make sure that we understand what he’s trying to convey.
As I’ve tried to explain to a lot of folks lately – the big issue isn’t so much the Monster’s receptive language skills as his expressive language skills. He clearly understands more than he can express, and a lot of the time, he just doesn’t have the words for what he wants to say.
For example, the wife’s figured out that his squealing thing is either being very happy or very upset at the moment. (Most of the time, it’s the former, rather than the latter.) Since much of that is based on context, there’s been a lot more prompting lately to try to get him to use words to tell us what he’s feeling, and that’s kind of been a mixed bag of late.
On the other hand, I took the kids out this afternoon to get them out of the wife’s hair for a bit. He’s very good about making it clear when he’s hungry – even if his favored phrase generally has to do with whatever meal he thinks is nearest/most-likely to be given – or thirsty, or the like. On the other hand, other feelings are harder to convey. When we were sitting on a bench at the playground, I asked if he wanted to go play on the slide. Of course, he said yes immediately, and I gently took his snack from him and gave him a playful wave to send him off.
Off he dashed, scaling the play structure to the slide and slid down it… and then came straight back to me. “Do you want to go again?” I asked, kind of curious as to why he’d taken me so literally for a change, and he did exactly that, exactly once more. So, since I figured it was perhaps his way of showing that he was hungry, I gave him his snack container back.
His response was to shove his hands under my arm and push in close.
“Are you cold?” I prompted him – it is a bit cool (mid-60s) and breezy today since a series of cold fronts are coming through today He didn’t respond to that one verbally the first two times I asked, but gave a yes on the third. Alright, easy enough, pack the kids in the car…
Now, I don’t know if he was cold or not. What I do know is he was asleep within five minutes of us leaving the playground. Whether he was cold or not, he did communicate successfully that he didn’t want to be on the playground anymore…