Verbally Speaking

Not too long ago, I was feeling a bit worried about Alex’s development. My concern was that he wasn’t developing, verbally, as fast as I thought he should be. Shouldn’t all babies at 17 months of age be able to say cup, doggie, cat? He lacks the ability to make the “c” sound, and I really just want him to have more words and less sounds that represent words.

He calls dogs “woof” and grapes “meep” and elephants are the sound that your lips make when air blows through them. Monkeys are “ah ah ooh ooh” and swimming is the same as water: “wa wa”. A penguin waddles, so clearly a penguin is “wada wada wada.”

When I casually brought up my concern to Zach, and he in turn mentioned it to my Mom, they both told me that I was, well, crazy. And just plain wrong. The number of words, or word approximations, that Alex makes is quite substantial.

The surely incomplete list of the words he either says or has his own “word” for: Mama, Dada, Daddy, Gramma, Nana, Big D, Kathy, Jackson the dog, Dog, Elephant, Mine, Monkey, Water, Up, Help, Cheese, Eye, Nose, No, Fish, Grapes, Wind/Air, Car, Truck, Bus, People, Baby, Belly Button, Bowl, Banana, Apple, Cow, Bunny, Ow, Heat, Book, Wolf, Dirty, Cheese, More, Yummy/NomNom, Cold, Shoes, Knee, Tickle, Bye Bye, Hi, Uh-Oh, Swimming, Sun, Moon, Penguin, Toes…

He even uses the occasional two word sentence. “More ___” is the most common.

It’s amazing the difference between what he can say and what he understands. His comprehension is easily hundreds of words, while he can probably only say around fifty. He can point to his head, eyes, ears, hair, nose, mouth, teeth, cheeks, belly, knees, feet and hands. Pointing to his nose is my favorite, though. When I tell him to “go tickle Daddy” he runs over and tickles Zach. When I ask him to give someone a specific toy, he finds the toy and brings it to that person. If he’s in the mood, of course.

So, my concern was unnecessary. I think I suffer from the paranoid-that-something-is-wrong syndrome of a first time Mama. He is fine. Maybe even better than fine.

15 thoughts on “Verbally Speaking

  1. I’m with you on the first-time-mother-paranoia thing. When H didn’t walk until he was 13 1/2 months, I was *sure* there was something wrong with him. And when he was so sick and in the hospital last fall, I was *positive* it was the start of some horrible terminal illness. It’s hard not to make yourself crazy. I keep reminding myself that all babies develop at different rates, and I just need to enjoy him as much as possible along the way. And whenever I forget, my husband is happy to remind me I’m being crazy. 😉

  2. He’s doing a lot better than James. James will randomly say words, but when you ask him to say it, he won’t. When the phone rings, he runs through the house screaming “HI???” And hello is “Hewwy” He also says cheese, and frimmie which we think means milk, and he gets “frimmie” from fridge. He also says “Salsa” and when he says block it comes out “cock” so we avoid that word as much as possible, lol.

  3. This is such a fun time! In about another six months, you’ll wonder why you were worried. I love when kids get words. Bun says something new every day.

    And Monkey doesn’t stop talking.


  4. First – love the new pic on your blog!

    Alex – it’s so hard for mommies … you want them to grow up but then you don’t. You want everyone to understand your child – you want them to be able to talk to you about what hurts and how much they love you … but then they reach that stage and you so want them to be babies again.

    I miss my baby girlys so much. I love them now so much – but I miss my ‘lil bean’ and my ‘happy chunky monkey’.

  5. Language acquisition is first comprehension THEN vocalization. And, this is something I tell myself a lot these days when I don’t “see” a lot of bang for my buck with Knute’s full-immersion preschool with his Spanish. He’s FINE. Don’t worry and try not to compare.

  6. Oh yes, I remember those days of paranoia. Now my girls are in SCHOOL and there’s a whole new set of worries. Thank God, He’s in control – or at least I TRY to let Him be. 🙂

  7. I think we all suffer from this disease. It doesn’t help when, like me, you work with people whose child is two months older and already mastered utencils, talks using a three year old ability, sleeps in a toddler bed, and is showing dangerous signs of being Smarter Than a Fifth Grader, lol. We all worry. Trust me, your Alex is fine. Now my Chloe on the other hand…LOL

  8. He is SO sweet! Isn’t it a fun age? Pufferfish is just a few months older than him. It sounds like he manages to communicate very well, even if he doesn’t always say words the right way! I read somewhere that at 19 months babies should be able to say (in their own way) 50 words, so Alex is probably right on target now!

  9. My kid is 18 months and can’t make the “c” sound, either. “Cat” is “at.” He says, “at, MEOW,” for example. Dog is “Dog, woof (and pant).” He can’t say “monkey” at all, though, and just goes, “oooh ah ah ah ah.”

    You don’t need to be concerned.

  10. DS is too young to make any signs (5mo), but I figured starting early wouldn’t hurt and would give me a head start at learning signs. I recommend the My Baby Can Talk and Baby Signing Time DVDs. The former are especially watchable – no flashy edits and plenty of soothing classical music. The latter are good from a teaching standpoint, but the songs can be a little annoying after a while.

  11. Oh dear now you’ve started me since Kaiya is almost two and nowhere near all that stuff. Hmm.. maybe I should reread your post before I frantically call her doctor.

  12. I think all parents go through the whole “is my kid normal?” concern (sadly it doesn’t get any better as they get older either!) I know with both my kids I’m constantly wondering if they’re ahead, on track, or behind.

  13. Learning vocabulary and speaking, it is different for every child. Some learn at early stage, and some little late. We can make them learn vocabulary by speaking to them frequently. Divide the words into bits and make them learn.


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