Oh. Yes. The down side of language development. My son has, within the last two days, mastered the word “no.” Greeeaaat.
For the moment, actually, it’s kind of cute. He’s been doing the negative-head-shake if you ask him a question and he’s not interested. But now we have the vocal “no” to go with it. So far, it’s not a rude-sounding word. Just a somewhat sweet-sounding answer to a question. Or, much of the time, simply a sound he’s practicing. He can be standing off by himself, checking something out, saying “no, no, no, no.” In his very sweet voice, in response to absolutely nothing.
But it’s coming, oh, it’s coming. Soon, I fear, we will make the leap to the loud, whiny, defiant “NO!” And I’m not sure how that one’s going to go.
My husband was raised in a household where “no” was not something you said to your parents. Oh, you might plead and beg and even whine. But you didn’t say “no!” when mom or dad told you to do something. It simply was not done. I will have to ask my mother-in-law how they managed that one. Oh, I’m sure they had some of the typical toddler “no,” but I need to find out how they managed to nip it in the bud.
My kids are trying to talk. Well, in truth, they’re talking up a storm. Just not in any language that I know. They use lots of different consonants, vowels, intonations, and volumes. They mimic sounds that I make, and seem to understand some of the things I say (especially if they involve food). But when I look at the books that say they should have “a few words besides mama and dada”… um…. Shoot. I’m not even sure they have mama and dada. Oh sure, they can say mama and dada. But do they mean me and M when they say it? Questionable.
Of all the things we moms worry about, language development might be the most common one I hear amongst my MOT friends. There’s certainly literature out there about twins often being a bit delayed in that area. Maybe we’re more sensitive to the issue because it’s already “out there,” or maybe it’s just that noticeable in our own kids.
Plus, I think that what I heard about “first words” made it seem as though suddenly, out of the blue, these clear words would just ring out from my kids’ mouths. Needless to say, that has not been the case. I’m pretty sure my daughter’s first word was “cracker,” but I’ll be damned if I can get her to say it again. Now, I’m amazed at how many words in her world start with “d.” Everything is a variation of da-da. Dog: “gah-dah.” Daddy: “dah-dah” (maybe). Daniel: “dah-doh” (sort of). Her version of “dog” is probably the most consistent thing she says. But it so much less clear-cut than I imagined it would be. I really thought I’d easily be able to say “aha! That’s a word! She’s saying ‘dog’!” But no. The lines are a lot fuzzier. You catch things that sound an awful lot like a particular word, but it’s fleeting and you have no idea if that’s what she meant, or if it was just a coincidence of sound.
I don’t necessarily think my kids are significantly delayed. I think they’re experimenting with lots of sounds and they’ll get there. I’ll ask the pediatrician when we see her in November. But, as in all things parenting, nothing is nearly as clear as we’d like it to be.