When A was born, I swore I wasn’t going to be the parent that worried about when my kid did anything. As long as her doctor was okay with her development, I would be too. So far, for the most part, I’ve done pretty well at this. Believe me, though, it hasn’t been easy. Man, parents can sure be petty braggarts, can’t they?
“Oh she’s not crawling? Little Bobby started crawling at three months old!”
“She hasn’t started feeding herself? Susie has been using a fork and spoon since we started solids.”
“You mean you haven’t even introduced her to the potty yet?”
Most of it is silly, and I don’t really care. When it came to gross motor skills, A has been consistently average. She rolled over at five months, crawled around 10 months, and walked around 13-14 months. She’s also always been small for her age, so I figured that had something to do with not making the early adopter marks.
There is one thing, though, that has had me mildly concerned the past couple months, and that’s how few words A is saying. She “talks” a lot, as in vocalizes, but she isn’t putting sounds together sounds to make words. At least words that I can decipher, anyway. She says “da da” and “ma ma” but usually in long strings of syllables, as in “da da da da” or “ma ma ma ma,” which she does with most consonants, and I’m not 100% sure she is saying them with meaning attached (although I know she knows who we are).
Truthfully, most of the time I have zero idea what she is saying (she knows exactly what she is saying though, and she says it with real conviction, let me tell ya). I just kind of go along with it. I make it a point to speak slowly and tell her what everything she’s interacting with is. The other night she had pulled her socks off and was carrying them around, and I must have said “socks, you have your socks” fifty billion times.
I know she comprehends what we say because if we tell her to do something, most of the time she will do it. In face that night when I asked her where socks go, she tried to put them on her feet. She gets it, she just can’t say it. She can’t say no, but she will shake her head when she doesn’t want to do something. “A , can I have a kiss?” *emphatically shakes head*
Honestly, I only had a passing concern a couple weeks ago that maybe it was something I should talk about, at her next well baby visit, if you know, it was still going on then. Until this weekend, when we went to one of her little friend’s birthday parties. I noticed there may be a bigger difference in her and other kids her age than I thought. There was another little girl there the same age as A. Not only was she physically bigger than A, but she was much more vocal. Ironically, she has the same name as A and was born five days after her, so they are very close in age. She was talking a lot, and very clearly had what I think would be an expansive vocabulary for a 16 month old. Granted I am not an expert, but still, all of these things led me to believe she was at least 18 months old, maybe even closer to two, so imagine when my surprise when she is the same age as my child.
It was also during this time I realized how much more reserved A is than other toddlers her age. Where the other kids (between 12 and 16 months) were playing with toys and interacting in the same general vicinity of each other, mine wanted nothing to do with any of it. In fact, she went in the opposite direction of the toys and the play, preferring to romp around the near empty kitchen. Eventually, I got her to go into the play area with me, and she was glued to lap for a good half an hour. It wasn’t until a couple of the kids and most of the adults at the party had left before she finally ventured off my lap and started playing.
Clearly, she is shy, which isn’t a bad thing. I was shy as a kid. Hell, I still am shy. She could be introverted, and there is nothing wrong with these things. It was the first time I was able to watch her with other kids her age, since in the mornings at daycare she is eating, and by the time I get her she is over tired and ready to melt down. It just wasn’t something I noticed until she was around very boisterous kids her age.
Which is not to say A isn’t boisterous, she is, just usually only when she is at home, with us. And granted, there were a lot of things about this weekend that may have caused her to withdraw and be quiet. Just like gross motor skills, verbal communication doesn’t happen at the same age for every toddler. She has a lot working towards her being later in talking. She’s the first child; there is no older sibling to teach her to talk. She’s in a daycare, so she interacts (I’m assuming she isn’t completely antisocial at daycare, at least I hope not) with kids the same age as her with varying levels of verbal communication skills. I’m sure they all understand each other perfectly and are plotting world domination. Totally possible. Probable even.
So for right now, I’m not going to worry about her speech too much, but I am going to keep an ear on it, and maybe ask daycare to as well, and bring it up with her doctor at her next well baby visit. And until I’m told otherwise, I’m going to enjoy her sweet little babbling, because as long as she isn’t saying real worlds, she’s not mimicking all of the bad words Mommy accidently says. Oops.