“The language explosion.” I remember doctors and hearing & speech therapists talking about this all the time, when D was struggling with his hearing loss.
“There’s a language EXPLOSION around 18 or 20 months,” they would tell us excitedly. “You’ll see!”
Um. No. We didn’t see.
(If you’re new around these parts, D had a serious speech delay and was diagnosed with a mild hearing loss when he was 18ish months old. He had tube surgery right after he turned two to clear the gluey fluid blockage, did speech therapy for six months, had another tube surgery when he turned 3 1/2, and is doing great these days)
But C, on the other hand, has never worried me in the speech department. She seems like a total GENIUS, actually, because we’re accustomed to having babies who are the strong, silent type! (She is blissfully average, though, I promise — not a Janine Kishi)
I looked through my archives, but I can’t find a single post where I write down the words C can say — like I madly chronicled for D, during his issues.
I just looked at a list of words he could say — right after he turned two — and shook my head. I couldn’t begin to write down all of the words C can say, now at 22 months. D’s spoken words were simple ones like “pullpull” (purple) and “Sissy” and “muk” (milk), but he could do dozens and dozens of ASL signs.
C only knows a couple of signs (“more” and “jump” are her usual ones) but she jabbers on like she’s telling you the greatest story of all time, and a lot of it is intelligible. She calls her dolls by name (“Janey” is her favourite) and can ask me for any food or drink imaginable. She requests a “sweatshuuurt” when she sees someone else wearing one, demands “ceeem” when she wants some of my face cream, and says “Pincessssss Anna” when she wants to watch Frozen clips on YouTube. (Oddly enough, she calls Barney “Nanny,” though)
In the past few weeks, though, I’ve noticed huge improvements in both D and C’s language. D’s speech has been improving rapidly since he began attending preschool in the fall (two mornings a week).
I’m constantly blown away by his maturity, as he comes home and starts talking about subjects so knowledgeably — like how poisons can hurt your skin so you have to keep them away from kids. Or how that thing on the wall is something you squirt on a fire so it puts the fire out. Or how smoke detectors go BEEP BEEP BEEP when there’s a fire, and you STOPDROPANDROLLANDCOVERYOURFACEMOMMY! DID YOU KNOW DAT?
He was on a knock-knock joke kick a few weeks ago, but he didn’t know how to tell them. I think I confused the issue by trying to teach him the “Who’s there? Orange. Orange who? Knock, knock. Who’s there? Orange” repeating one — that ends with “Orange you glad I didn’t say banana?” — because he would say “Orange who?” and then burst into hysterical laugher before the punchline.
He’s telling me the plot of Honey I Shrunk the Kids. He’s discussing what happens at preschool with vivid detail. He’s memorizing entire books — like Just Go To Bed and Green Eggs & Ham — and blowing my mind with how he “reads” them aloud. He’s asking real questions about things, and I’m actually giving him real, thoughtful answers instead of jokingly making something up — because he remembers everything!
It’s very strange being able to have a real conversation with both kids, while I’m driving. Or quizzing them on something when I read them a book. Asking them questions and getting answers from both of them.
It’s a new, big-kid phase of life that hammers it home that we’re done having babies. But it doesn’t make me sad — well, not really — because I’m really enjoying being able to talk with them. It’s fun! They’re like PEOPLE or something!