Last year my daughter worried about her son’s speech. Worried enough to have him tested. Worried uselessly – he met all performance expectations for his age.
Last month, he leaped years ahead and quit calling her mommy or momma and initiated a loud, clear, teenaged “Mom” when he wanted something. Mostly he wants information – lots of information.
“Where are we going, Mom?” he asks over and over as they drive somewhere.
“Why she doing that, Mom?” he asked when I waved my hands while talking.
“What is this, Mom? What is that, Mom?” and, of course, the inevitable, “Why, Mom?”
Often, through his speech, she catches glimpses of his imagination. As the child played in his wading pool, stirring the water with a stick, he looked up and informed her, “this is my cooking wand.”
Or, pulling out the vintage Fisher-Price buildings and figures, he began lining up the wooden and plastic figures quietly declaring, “This is my mom. This is my Dad and this is my Care-yine. The worker man is driving the choo-choo train.”
He placed the 20 or so little characters in a line that reached to the edge of the couch saying, “This is my friend and this is my friend and this is my friend.”
He had to place some under the couch, but he assured the figures, “It’s okay. It’s not scary under there. There’s no spiders under there. It’s okay Chicken. There’s no bears under there.”
He picked up the bus and switched subjects.
“Let’s go on a trip on a bus.”
“I don’t want to go.”
“I already went on a trip on a bus.”
“I don’t want to go on a trip on the bus.”
“They are coming right back.”
With his chubby little hands he held one wooden person with a hat and one without a hat and provided their dialogue, “I’m mad because I don’t have a hat.”
“I’m happy,” the hat man said.
“Well, I’m not.”
Eating out with small friends, he pronounced one of the girls as the good princess, the other as the bad princess and himself and the other boy as good kings. Through out the meal, he gave progress reports on their royal life together.
Like any toddler playing together with a friend he does not always like to share. Now that he talks, he makes his wishes known very clearly.
Last week he climbed up the ladder of his slide carrying his toy tools, laid them on the platform and called down, “I sorry, Ben, you can’t come up here. I am working.”
He looked across at his mother, “You can’t come up here, Mom. I have my tools. I am working.”
In a few minutes he finished working and let Ben climb up the slide’s ladder.
While the boys played, my daughter decided to jog around the backyard for exercise. The boys dropped their toys and ran with her until they tired and both begged her to, “Stop. Stop. Stop.”
Yes, the lad’s linguistic skills are right on target: Imperative, inquisitive, imaginative and impolite. All that talking with him since his birth has paid off.
He, of course, does not remember her talking with him as an infant so he does not understand why she talks with their new baby.
He interrupted his mom as she chatted with the baby one day, “Why you talk with Care-yine? Care-yine can’t talk. Why you talk with Care-yine?”
Because that’s how Care-yine will learn to talk. First, she simply responded to sound. Then that first verbal contact happened and my daughter’s voice exuded excitement, “She and I cooed back and forth for fifteen minutes.”
Another day, the child rolled over in her bed and discovered the smiling, life-sized baby doll sitting in her bed.
Hearing something in the room, Mom went to check. She found her baby smiling and cooing at the doll.
Give her a year or two and the child will hold her own toy dialogues. For now, my daughter is not worried about this baby’s speech development.