As you probably know, my boy has just turned 2. He’s strong and active and bright and gorgeous.
And he is yet to speak.
Now before you rush off to tell me that you know someone who didn’t speak til they were three or it’s because he’s a boy or because he’s so active he doesn’t have time to talk, I’ve heard it. Thank you. Really. But I have.
I can break it down into two reasons why this lack of speech is bothering me.
The first, and probably the most difficult, is that his lack of speech is eminently frustrating. For both of us. When he was a baby and couldn’t make himself understood he just cried. That was a bummer, but I could try a number of things and usually got to the solution eventually. Also his needs were much less complex. He wanted ‘food’. He didn’t want pirate biscuits, not breadsticks, in a red bowl not a plate, in the garden not the lounge. He now knows exactly what he wants and he can’t tell me. I can have a guess, based on time of day, where we are, simple hand gestures (he doesn’t really point, more throws his arm in the general direction and opens and closes his little fist) but chances are I’m not going to quite get it. Which can lead to anything from a “Uh” and a pushed away item to a full on screaming tantrum. This sucks for both of us.
The second is much more selfish. He never calls me. About a year ago, he would, if he was very ill, call Maaaamaaaa in a crying whingey tone. That was fine. Now I don’t even get that. For a short spell if I asked him to say Mama (at about 18 months) he would. But he never called me. He calls for me, with various noises none of which are words. But he never calls me Mama. Or Mummy or Mum or even a specific sounds reserved only for me. And he wont repeat the word, or any word, now either. And that sucks for me. It doesn’t bother him. Maybe it’s because I’m usually the one who answers his calls regardless. Maybe he doesn’t feel the need to give me a name cos I’ll come whatever he shouts. But it’s starting to make me just a little bit sad.
So here’s the deal. I know he’s only just two. I know some children speak later than others. I know he’s a boy. I know he’s super active. I know he’ll get there. I know! I know all these things rationally. My rational head is telling me them all the time. But it doesn’t help the emotional side of me. Does it ever? The rational side had him up the doctors last week. I thought it best to rule out any rational reasons early on, you know, like maybe there’s a physical reason he’s behind with his speech? I went to get him checked for the toddler condition Glue Ear, a build up of fluid in the ear which makes everything sound like you’ve got your fingers in your ears. It’s very common and extremely treatable. Well the poor doctor was treated to a view of Oscar’s evil twin when he tried to look in his ears! Yowsa! And despite all that, he said he couldn’t see. We’ve been given olive oil drops to clear any build up of wax and told to come back in a week or so. As you can imagine, that’s proving a riot every evening 😉 and we still don’t have an answer on this front.
The other thing that’s got me in a flap I rationally know I don’t need to be in, is that now he’s two, he’s due his Two Year development check. I stopped going to the health visitor weigh ins when he was 10 months old (apart from one time a few months ago when I went with a friend to give her support. Those poor, glassy eyed new mothers, burnt out from lack of sleep staring in horror at my great big galumphing son! “You poor dears” I felt like saying “yes you too will have a terror like this one day Mwahahahaha!”) and I haven’t really thought about it since. But my friends are starting to have them and they’ve also told me snippets of where the children are expected to be by now. Physically I think we’re pretty much bang on track. 50th centile I’d say. It’s the talking and the gesturing I’ve got myself in a tizzy over. He “should have” 20-50 words or so by now and be making sentences. At a push he can say “car” (I even got it on film the other day in case he wont perform on the day and I have to prove it!) and “bye” or “bah” as he says it. So yeah I’m worried what they’ll say. We’ve got his check booked for next Tuesday, at home, alone. These checks are normally held in groups, but I’ve asked for a home visit as I know I’m going to want to chew this development question over and I’m not comfortable doing this with strangers. Well obviously I am here, just not face to face! So we’ll see how that goes.
And this is where we find ourselves. In a sort of limbo. Trying not to think about it too much, til something is confirmed. Or not. Glad that we’ve got the ball rolling, but with no idea where it’ll roll to. If anywhere.
Ben asked me the other day, what, about this whole thing I was most worried about. What was I actually worried the health professionals would say. I didn’t have to think.
Because deep down I’m most worried that it’s my fault. That it’s something I’ve done. Or not done.
Because I’m his mama – whether he calls me it or not. And that’s what mamas do.