My son Aiven has always been ahead of the curve. He is taller than his peers, walked earlier than his friends, ate more diverse food sooner than most….more than enough to make a mother proud. On the verbalization front, however, we are a little concerned. At his two year well-child checkup, the pediatrician told us she would like to see him back in a month if he hasn’t learned 100 words by then. The funny thing is, between nine and eighteen months we taught Aiven how to sign a few words from Baby Signing Time, but we stopped reinforcing them when he started to vocalize a few words. We just assumed that he would start talking and that signing was no longer necessary. Some signs have stuck around such as more, milk, and please, but the other ones I couldn’t even tell you what they are anymore. So now we find ourselves in an awkward in-between phase where Aiven has forgotten how to sign but hasn’t yet learned enough vocabulary or how to string words together, so he is mostly communicating with grunts and gesticulations. Yikes.
A hundred words. Well, maybe Aiven does already know 100 words, if you count numbers. He can count to ten in both English and Spanish. My husband’s family is from Argentina, so he speaks to our son almost exclusively in Spanish so he will grow up bilingual. I am not sure if that is causing a language delay or if there is another reason for it, whether I should be concerned, and if so, how much. I tend to think that all kids catch up to each other eventually, and I am not one to strictly adhere to guidelines in a book. But is that naive? His classmates at school are talking, really talking. Full sentences, and they know each other’s names and those of the teachers. Meanwhile, Aiven might say “please” if prompted and only jumps and yells “Dora!” when it is Dora time.
We conferred with the early childhood education expert at Aiven’s daycare about this, and she recommended that we remove his pacifier except for naptime and bedtime, in addition to insisting he use words to communicate rather than gesturing. Both these policies have resulted in tears being shed. Nevertheless, I have heard Aiven utter a few gems that give me hope:
1) Last week he fell down and when he picked himself back up, he declared, “I’m OK. I’m OK.”
2) When he expected only a handful of crackers and instead I handed him a bowlful, he replied, “Oh, thanks!”
3) He knows the difference between “iPad”, “iPod”, and “iPhone”, and he’s not afraid to ask for what he wants (ummm, this doesn’t make me so proud of myself).
So, what do you think? Should I be concerned? Or just leave him alone and not be such a worry wart?