As little as it seems that I remember about Madelyn’s infancy, I can recall her saying her first words in the summer, which would make her anywhere between 7-10 months old. From then on, her language developed quickly. Animal noises, individual words, gave way to sentences and by the time she was 18 months old she would sing “Patty cake” in it’s entirety.
So, when Asher came along, I knew that we had a few things that would go against us. First, he was a second child. As much as we’d love to read to him more and teach him new words and sounds, there isn’t enough time in the day or energy to do so. Unfortunately, we all need to eat, have clean clothes, work and sleep. Second, he’s a boy. Sometimes genetics just screws you over. Third, due to the cost of having 2 children in daycare, we decided to go down to a one income household. Not having children the same age as you or teacher who would give you undivided attention would only slow his language development. Lastly, Madelyn, aka chatterbox, doesn’t stop talking. Poor little guy couldn’t get a word in edgewise if he tried. Also, since Madelyn knows all, she also has ESP and is completely aware of Asher’s wants and needs.
We basically knew that he wouldn’t be singing complete songs by now. But, I guess I didn’t think that he wouldn’t say more than “mama”. Or that he would walk around the house pointing to what he wants and grunts. I hoped for animal noises, dada, doggie, etc. I mean, it’s not like we’ve ignored him the past 19 months of his life. He nods yes and no, knows his body parts, follows directions (if I tell him to get a toy in another room), loves books and recognizes/points to objects, and is a very happy, lovable little boy. During Asher’s 18 month appointment, I mentioned how how he still only says 1 word and grunts most of the time. She recommended a Speech Eval and he would only qualify for Speech therapy if there would be a 25% delay in his development. Sure, why not. If anything, it would only benefit Asher.
After being evaluated by a speech therapist and an occupational therapist (just to have a 2nd developmental evaluation), we had a follow-up meeting on Tuesday and it was determined that although he has a strong gestural system (pointing, pushing us or leading us to where he wants us to go), and has a good receptive language development (understanding simple directions, recognizes objects, etc), his expressive language was a red flag. Primarily because he can’t imitate any sounds including inflections in voice. Developmentally at this age, he should be a parrot, which he is far from. And the poor guy gets so frustrated. When he’s mad, his grunting is angry and he’ll whine and cry. It was recommended to us for him to have Speech therapy for 6 months and then it would be re-evaluated if he needed more.
I’m torn. I am so happy that we’ll have some better tools to teach him how to talk. We never taught either of our kids sign language because I thought that it would hinder their language development. But, after showing him the sign for “more”, “thank you” and “want” a couple of times, he picked it up quickly and when he uses his signs, his face lights up. The pride and happiness that is on his face melts my heart.
That’s where I feel terrible. Although, as a parent there are many times that you make mistakes, I feel like we failed him. We should’ve read more books to him, played more, been more involved instead of doing other things. If anything, used sign language to give him a voice! I’m sure that load of laundry could have waited. Or the dishes that just had to be done could have stayed dirty until after bedtime. So many missed opportunities that have cost Asher frustration and delay.
I understand that it’s good that we’re helping him now and that he’ll talk soon. I know that there will be days that I wished he’d stop talking for a few minutes. But, right now I want to hear his little boy voice say “please” and “thank you”. I want to hear him “moo” and “growl”. I want to hear him say “I love you momma”. I want to know if he wants mac and cheese or chicken nuggets. I want his life to be easier and with less frustration.
We’ll get there.