I have long excused the fact that Aaron and Brady do not speak nearly as well as their big sister did at this age. They are not the first born, they are multiples, they are boys. But as they approach their second birthday and their communication frustrations are now rising along with mine, I’ve been thinking about this thing we MoMs often hear about:
Is it true? Do twins really develop their own language? If you listen to Aaron and Brady with each other, they seem to understand each other. They babble back and forth to each other in their cribs when they wake up in the morning and before they fall asleep at night. They “chat” in their car seats in the car. But are they really communicating? Or, do they simply enjoy each other’s company. I used to think it was the former, but the more I watch them and the more reading up I do on “twin talk”, the more I think it’s the latter.
If you truly listen to them and their mispronounciations, they have the same ones. For example, they substitute the “B” sound with the “D” sound universally. I don’t think this is a function of twin talk so much as one started and the other is copying him. And now that the second is reinforcing the first, he’s not apt to change his habits.
So, what to do?
I’m not sure they’d qualify for Early Intervention programs at this point (especially with the level of “need” rising with budgets being cut), but it’s still worth inquiring about at their 2-year check up in a few weeks. I do think, however, that there is quite a bit of work that my husband and I can and should (and don’t currently do enough of) with them at home.
For starters, we are fairly terrible at getting them alone time with us or with other children. They spend a good 90% of their time together, as a unit. The few times we’ve separated them for outings, Aaron has embraced it and Brady has looked lost. For that reason alone we should focus more of our energy getting them apart. But I think speaking to them one on one, without the influence of the other, would help with their language skills as well.
Second, we are also very quick to respond to their communication attempts even when they are not clear. We have identified patterns in their spoken language, patterns in their body language and just patterns in their behavior depending on the time of day that lead us to be able to anticipate most of their needs and interpret their grunts and whines when the words that they do have are not sufficient. This does nothing to encourage them to work on their vocabulary or language skills at all. They know Mommy and Daddy will get them what they need — and we are always the ones caring for them — so they have no need to fine tune their communication.
I hope that by making an extra effort as parents, we will start to see some of the frustrations go away – on their end and on ours.
What about you other parents of multiples? What is your take on Twin Talk and what have you done to get past it?