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Learning the Art of Conversation

Around the time she's 10 weeks old, your baby will start having little "chats" with you. First, she may fall silent as you speak to her, taking in what you're saying. Then, when you're done, she'll coo and gurgle back.

Okay, so it's not exactly like the two of you are discussing the pros and cons of the bailout. But it's still an important step toward grasping the rhythms of conversation, says Angela Haas, a speech-language pathologist at the Children's Hospital in Denver. So encourage the back-and-forth: Imitate her or say something short and upbeat, like "Hi, sweetie!" Then stop and wait.

Instead of vocalizing, "she might wave her arms or kick her legs or smile -- that's a way of replying," Haas says. Keep the flow rolling by acknowledging and encouraging her until she signals she's had enough. (She'll fidget and look away.) Even if the "talk" lasts only a minute, she'll have learned a little about the fine art of conversation. And you'll have learned something, too: "Babies are clear communicators, if you take the time to stop and watch," Haas says.

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