Miles saying “baby a bath” – bathing the baby is one of his favorite activities now.
It’s been a while since I wrote about Miles’s progress in speaking, but I think I have mentioned before that he’s never been terribly advanced in this area, and that may be a bit of an understatement. I brought up his language skills at his 24 month well baby visit, but his pediatrician was unconcerned. We did not get a developmental evaluation or questionnaire that I’ve heard of many parents getting at 18 months, and I have to admit that I kind of wish there were some kind of check-in sometime between age 2 and age 3 because it seems like such a long time to go with no progress report!
Miles’s typical pattern for development, particularly with language, has been to plateau for a little while and then have a burst of growth. This might be why we seem to have dramatic nap/sleep regressions every so often (he’s currently on a nap strike, in fact). Right now he is 28 months and just starting to put two-word phrases together, like “baby a bath,” “baby jumping,” “going to sleep,” and so on.
One thing that I’ve found hard to measure against the milestones is that he has a good sized vocabulary, but very few of the typical beginner words, and few of what I think of as “useful” words – so, he doesn’t say hi or bye (nor does he wave), no mommy (he calls me by the color of my shirt), he doesn’t say yes or no (or nod or shake his head), does not say his own name (though he does understand the meanings of all of the above). But he knows all of his colors (more on this later), names of his favorite foods and toys and activities, animals, etc.
I have scoured many a list of warnings signs for autism and Asperger’s, wondering if his speech issues (delays? oddities?) could possibly be ASD. But my gut tells me he is not on the spectrum, and the ASD checklists just don’t quite ring true. What did ring true was a line from Raising Your Spirited Child: “Spirited kids are persistent when they are motivated and personally interested in the idea or activity.” This is Miles to a tee. He will not repeat a word after you unless he somehow finds it funny or otherwise compelling. But he’ll pick up words for all of the things that matter to him. Right now he loves watching home videos of himself as a baby and he can reproduce every “line” of baby talk, coo, and sigh with uncanny accuracy, so I know the physical ability is there, it’s more a question of whether he wants to say something.
On the other hand, he also is saying some new words that are pronounced so poorly that I have NO idea what he’s saying, and that’s frustrating for both of us. This does make me think twice about letting him hang on to his pacifiers for a while longer. In the photo at the top you can actually see his slight lisp as he says “bath.” On the other other hand, both Mike and one of my brothers were late talkers (and not binky-suckers) and had speech therapy in grade school for pronunciation issues, so there may be some genetic component there.
Now. The colors. This is the one thing that I find very annoying: he very quickly learned all of his colors, just by drawing pictures with me when I would name the colors of his markers. It probably took one session of doing this for him to memorize them all – again, if he’s interested he learns fast. But like with everything, he turns it up to 11 (this is kind of our catchphrase for Miles – everything gets turned up to 11). He started referring to everything by color, even thinks he knows the real name for – so waffles are “brown,” my car is “black,” lights are “orange” when they’re on and “blue” when they’re off, etc. He used to say Daddy but now calls him by the color of his shirt, as he does me. It was fun at first, but now when he is shrieking for “blue, blue, BLUE!” it makes me want to tear my hair out. It’s like I Spy from hell.
I do sometimes wonder if I am partly at fault for his lack of progress in talking, because I am such an introvert that when I’m home alone with the kids I’m often kind of silent. I space out, and I withdraw into my own head when I’m under stress (which, you know…). I’ve never been one to narrate a lot of our daily activities because that just does not come naturally to me. We do read a lot and I try to make a habit of doing things like talking about what we did each day when I’m putting him to bed. Another problem is that when Mike is home we are often jabbering each other’s ears off because we haven’t seen each other in a day, and we could be better about including Miles in our dinner conversations.
Every once in a while I start to worry about Miles’s language skills once again and will start to wonder if I’m falling down on the job and should be doing some kind of early intervention or something like that, but it seems like just when I’m starting to reach a worrywart boil, he’ll have another leap forward and I’m temporarily reassured once more.