Parenting, Thing 2

Talky Talky

One of the most valuable lessons I have learned as LilZ has grown up is that All Children Are Different. LilZ didn’t start reading when most of the kids his age did, and some people in our family made a big deal about that. “Why isn’t he reading yet? So-in-so is! You need to work with him more!” I really enjoyed hearing that because (a) it was assuming that I didn’t work with him – which couldn’t have been farther from the truth and (b) passively implied that there was something wrong with the speed at which LilZ was learning. Both things are fantastic to feel as a parent, by the way.

Well – as anyone who knows LilZ now can attest – he definitely made up for lost time. The kid is an avid reader that has even started this year venturing into the world of popular adult fiction novels because he’s getting a wee bored with the “Teen” section at Barnes and Noble. So, the delay in learning to read? Did nothing to his long-term academic achievement.

Why, then, do I worry so much about NikkiZ not talking as much as the other kids in her class? She has a few words she says and knows what they mean: Trash. Baby. Trash. Puppy. Trash. Woof Woof. Trash. (If you give her something to throw away she will say “Trash” every time. Has she yet to say “Mommy” in a way that shows she knows it’s me? No.) She has a few sounds: Bay-Bay and Mee-Mee which seem to vary in meaning depending on the situation. Sometimes I think she’s saying “Mommy” in reference to me, but this weekend it seemed like it was her name for her Grandma. And “Bay-Bay” sometimes sounds like “Baby” when she is playing with her doll, but she also uses it when she wants a cracker or possibly has a stinky diaper.

Why do I care? The smart and logical part of me knows she will speak when she wants to and this is not a sign of slow development as much as it is a sign of her being damn stubborn. Sometimes she gives us that look like, “Yeah. Right. I’ll say ‘Daddy’ when you let me eat cookies for breakfast.” Other times she just looks bored. I honestly don’t believe there’s anything wrong with her. But – when the other kids in her class are all, “Mommy!” when their Moms get there or “Dog!” or “Cat!” or “Platypus!” when it’s storytime – I get a little frustrated because I want to hear my daughter say “Kack Kack” when I ask her what a duck does.

Instead she only consistently says, “No! No! No!” which, of course, is the other word she knows PERFECTLY. She points to things she’s not allowed to touch and says, “No! No! No!” to show us she knows not to touch Mommy’s beer. I guess I should be grateful for that. I think I’d rather have a toddler who knows the value of Mommy’s Friday Night Brew than one who knows her shirt is green.

15 thoughts on “Talky Talky”

  1. It is frustrating – my youngest didn’t speak as early as her siblings because, well, she didn’t have to – when she quickly learned that we probably would figure out exactly what she wanted and there were three other better-speaking individuals (the kids, not me!) who were more than happy to communicate basically everything, for her.

    You’re right not too worry about the other kids, too much – the rest of the words, will come!

    Especially when the other kids start to piss her off ;o)

  2. My son walked at 9 1/2 months, while my friend’s son was still a creeper at 14 months. Of course, I felt very superior. But by 18 months, the boys were both running and climbing like monkeys and we both wished they’d just sit down already.

    There’s nothing wrong with NikkiZ. She’ll talk when it finally matters to her.

  3. just remember, einstein didn’t read until he was like four!

    as for talking, i know several kids who didn’t talk all that much when they were little and now you can’t get them to shut up … so cherish these times now, because in a few short years she’ll be doubling your phone bill in an effort to make up for lost time!

  4. My son did not say Mommy until he was 19 months old! He decided one day about a month ago (21 months old) that he would grace us with his power of speech. I, like you, would pick him up at daycare and hear all the other kids talking to their mommies and saying all kinds of things and it drove me nuts. But now he is saying words that I didn’t know he knew. Our doctor told me that maybe because he has an older sibling (my other son is 12) that he just has not felt the need to talk until now.
    Don’t fret— she will talk and you will fall into bed with your ears aching each night and ask yourself why you wanted this so badly!!!

  5. My eldest didn’t *really* talk until he was four. He just, like NikkiZ, didn’t care to. He wasn’t a grunter or anything, but he got his point across nonverbally. Or he didn’t care enough to correct us. Is he possibly the smartest kid in his class? Yes, he is, a fact the teacher made sure we knew at our last conference. He also didn’t take a step until he was about 17 months old. I know you know you shouldn’t worry, and its so hard not to, but she sounds perfectly normal to me. 🙂

  6. Okay, obviously I didn’t pass my brain power down to my children because I mean to say he didn’t talk until *three*, not four. What a dolt.

  7. BAH. People always have to comment on SOMETHING. If LilZ had started reading voraciously reading at the age of 3, then you would have gotten the “all he does is read, he needs to get out of the house!” comments. You can’t win — I get the “he’s so tiny” comments and conversely, my friend gets the “she’s so BIG” comments regarding her daughter.

    My kid is only saying a few words, but our Parents as Teacher educator is NOT worried, as she pointed out the milestone goes up to 24 months. I wish I could cart her around with me to reply to all the comments I get on the fact that he isn’t saying much.

  8. My guy is 16 months and while he does talk a bit, it’s nothing really ground breaking. He’s just now starting to expand his word usage and a couple of months ago he said things here and there but it wasn’t consistent.

    People always have opinions, that’s for certain. My MIL went on and on about my guy eating with his hands instead of a spoon and boy he showed her when I gave him a fork for the first time and he used it like a pro. *take that*

    I’d be tempted to come up with some smart-ass commentary, “Hmm, go figure, someone would think after all these years you’d manage to learn some manners, I guess YOU’RE BEHIND, ASSHOLE”

  9. My youngest was a late talker. His older brothers and I always spoke for him. Now I miss those days:) We can not shut him up!

  10. I started talking early and haven’t shut up, is that a bad thing she isn’t talking? Seriously, I taught years ago at a Catholic school and we had several new moms that would come in and say the same things. My older child talked more, or sooner, or something. Here is what I learned, kids generally will talk when they have something to say or if they need to talk. Like everyone else said above, she doesn’t have to come and talk to you and she only says bay bay when she wants something.

    My guess is you are the perfect parents and she is completely and geniunely loved and cared for and she has nothing to say because you do it all for her, who could “ask” for anything more.

    I found the study we used and I would be happy to send it to you, but my guess is you are doing the right thing and she will talk when she is good and ready.

  11. As a soon-to-be mom, this stuff scares the crap out of me. Right now I’m still dealing with the comments that make me want to scream that my pregnancy will be different from everyone else’s and could you please just STEP OFF. But I know that it will be worse when the baby’s born.


    I’m going to need an extra measure of grace then!

  12. My girl, now seven, NEVER shuts up. The child talks in her sleep. She talks with her mouth full. She talks through class. She TALKS! She didn’t say a word until she was about fifteen months old. Then what did she say? Mama? Dada? Nope. Fish. The child said fish.

  13. Our pediatrician had our son tested because he was not talking by 15 mos. much. He did very well on gross motor and was less than average on small motor skills. They did not see a problem. They said he should speak an average of one word per year of age. I was surprised when they tested him at what he knew. He had to put little things in a cup and all this stuff that I was freaking over! I thought OMG! He can’t do that! But he could. They do progress at their own pace. Within the next six months he progressed so much I told them not to bother coming back and they wrote back and said they were not surprised. They are all different and don’t worry till she is a little more mature and you see what her personality is like. She just might not have anything to say right now!

  14. Zoot, don’t worry!! Every kid progresses on their own, and every parent freaks out about some of that progression, or seeming lack of it!!. Everyone freaks. Some just don’t wanna admit it (my SIL, for example).

    My little man was over 2 when we finally understood 1/2 of what he was saying., and even now, coming up on 3, he is still sometimes hard to understand. They all progress at different speeds. Now, ask my boy to take apart a electronic toy, he will have all those pesky screws and wires separated into neat little piles before you can go pee.

    Don’t worry, Be Happy!! doo doo doo doo doo do dooooo doo doo doo doo oooo, doo dooo doo dooooo……..



  15. OMG I am in the same boat. Abby does not say momma in any form as I can tell, but sometimes she will say gaga when looking at me. I am ga. She has a few words down, but mostly babbling.

    A “friend” asked why Abby does not talk a lot. At first I was shocked that someone would actually say something like that, but then I reminded her that when she iis w/ Abby that Abby does not have time to talk b/c my “friend” is doing all the talking. At home she babbles just fine.

    I try not care when people say stupid stuff but it is hard.

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