Okay, I’m the last person you want to talk to about mother’s intuition. Well, maybe not the last, but certainly not in the top ten. But, see, I’ve been worried about Happy Fun Baby’s speech for, oh, ever, but until now he wasn’t officially a late talker. I don’t even know if he officially is now, but since the rumored 21-month language explosion never came, I think I can express a little concern. Not a lot of concern; a reasonable amount of concern.
He’s just not all that interested in talking. Not like he is, say, in music, or watching Blue’s Clues (one of his words is “Blue,” complete with hand opening and closing). He doesn’t mimic much speech, but he’ll try to make music out of everything.
I don’t think it’s a hearing issue. It’s not like he has no words. He babbles constantly, and does this adorable thing where he inserts words into a sentence of babble: “Diddle diddle diddle iddle show?” It’s like he’s having this whole conversation, but the only thing we can understand is the one word. Like it’s totally us, we’re the problem, if we would just get with the program and learn his language then everything would be fine.
Not So’s father didn’t talk until he was three (the father, not Not So), so, I don’t know. It shouldn’t be an issue. It’s not an issue, right? My kid’s always been on his own schedule; why should this be any different?
And he’s starting to use words to communicate. He’s just begun using “No” correctly, which is…good, but also kind of annoying. Like the other day, when he was turning on the faucet in the bathroom, and I said “Please don’t do that. Get down from there,” and he responded with a cheerful, emphatic “No.” Uh, yeah, kid, kudos for using the right word and saying what you mean…but you’re still getting down.
I was talking to another mom the other day, someone with a kid close to Happy Fun Baby’s age, and mentioned that, you know, he’s finally really starting to talk, and she was aghast. Like, the kind of aghast that barely conceals a pointed question about my parenting skills. Her kid, she said carefully, had about a hundred words by the age of one. Subtext: What the hell is wrong with you? Or, worse: What the hell is wrong with your kid?
There’s nothing wrong with my kid, I don’t think. He’s just a late talker. And that’s probably okay. The problem, honestly, is with me: I feel like Happy Fun Baby’s lack of verbal acuity is a direct indictment of my parenting skills. Which is ridiculous. I didn’t feel like the fact that he walked super early was evidence that I was a good mom (in fact, I worried constantly that people would judge me for “pushing” my kid, when in fact I was doing no such thing). A lot of what I hear as judgment from other parents is probably just them making small talk. I might have stepped on some toes by mentioning that Happy Fun Baby was walking when other parents were struggling with their kids’ disinclination to stand, just by virtue of opening my mouth.
Dude. You probably thought this was going to be one of my “entertaining” posts. Boy were you ever wrong.