The more things change…

… the more they truly stay the same.

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Today, I had Little Man’s 18 month check up. I wasn’t too worried going into it and rightly so : 12.5 kg (27 1/2 lbs), 85 cm tall (33 inches) and 50 cm head circumference (almost 20 inches)… all and all, 85th percentile and going strong. His reflexes are amazing, he can follow a complex set of instructions, he master’s his fine motor skills impeccably, he’s got a huge appetite and is SUPER strong and independent.

Then we sat down and the part I wasn’t looking forward came :

Doctor : “He responds to his name when called?”

Me : “Only 1 out of 5 times.”

Doctor : “He masters a vocabulary of at least 10 words and uses them often and in the right context?”

Me : “No.”

Doctor : “How many words would you say he speaks?”

Me : “One. Mama. And I’m not always sure he uses it in context.”

… silence …

Now, don’t get me wrong… I wasn’t fearing this part because I think there is something massively wrong with my child. He is wicked smart, I see it everyday. He communicates volumes by pointing, grasping, his gestures, his entire body… But I knew that our doctor had to ask the questions (it’s on the little form) and I wasn’t sure where she would go from there. I was imagining the mention of pediatricians, ear exams, hearing tests, speech therapists… But I should have had faith in our doctor. She is a realist, she’s calm and soft, she is comforting and positive.

We started talking about environment. Of course being at home instead of surrounded by kids everyday in a daycare will have a certain impact. And I knew that was true. Now that Little Man is calming down and able to concentrate a bit more, I’ll be able to join in community play groups and such that will give him more exposure. Then we talked about personality. ย His full on motor preference makes him a candidate for talking late because he doesn’t have interest in it. Talking is static, he needs movement. Finally, we moved on to languages. Being a two language household, we went through this situation before. When Little Miss was about 18 months, although she was mastering a pretty decent vocabulary, she had also “plateaued” at the same 10-12 words and hadn’t really progressed since she had been 15 months. So it had been suggested that maybe we should try concentrating on one language instead of doing both. It had worked wonders… like knots unraveling in her head, her vocabulary went from a handful of words to full sentences in less than 2 months and by age 2, she was having complete conversations.

So here we are again. It’s unrealistic for us to concentrate on English first. Like with Little Miss, 75% of our world is French, so French it will be. It will be strange, not having that flow of “fren-glish” in the house and it will be a nice lesson in control for her since she prefers English now that she is fully bilingual. But we must all work as a family and part of being a big sister is being a role model.

Guess I’m hitting the library for more French books!

To all my mama’s with late speakers, what are/were some of your tricks and ideas to stimulate speech? I would love to know.

Have a great afternoon everyone!

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About Yanic A.

Hello to all of you and thank you for stopping by! My name is Yanic. I'm a wife to a wonderful husband, a mother of 2 beautifully complex and unique children and a lover of all things inspiring. Having started a personal journey of self discovery when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter 4 years ago, I've since embraced a daily life of simpler pleasures and gratitude. As we get to know each other, you will know me as a quilter, a gardener, a Tao cultivator, a vegetarian foodie, a true believer in a healthy family life as being the secret to my happiness and hopefully as time goes on, a friend... I will try to share with you my days as they unfold, speaking of my happy successes without censoring my challenges, trying to make this blog a true portrait of the ever-changing path that I have chosen for myself. I'm hoping to find in these pages others to share with and learn from, bringing to light the absolute connection in all things and people, showing this world as being a true community.
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45 Responses to The more things change…

  1. sophiezest says:

    If only you were here, I have a large box of French books to give away! Glad he’s doing so well. The speech will come…

    Like

    • Yanic A. says:

      I know… I just really want to not have to deal with the “things” that will come if he’s still not talking by 2, you know. Feel a bit of a deadline on the horizon. But I just have to breathe.

      I would totally take them, but oh my goodness the shipping fees! Yikes!!! I’m thinking library and used books stores here we come. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thank you for your encouragement.

      Like

  2. Eighteen months doesn’t seem like a late talker to me. I agree with you that toddlers seem to concentrate on walking or talking and don’t do both. My children were talking at less than a year but eldest walked at nineteen months and youngest at fifteen months by then their vocabularies were huge. I personally think that if they are ‘communicating’ and happy then I wouldn’t be worried at eighteen months but I think I would be concerned if nothing changed in the next nine months. I have a friend who is bringing her child up to be bilingual. She speaks Spanish and English. Her husband mostly English (and passable Spanish). She only speaks Spanish to her daughter, her husband only English. She never expected her daughter to speak Spanish until she wanted to and that happened when she was around the age of three. She lives in England so I appreciate it was easier for her not to have to speak Spanish outside the home ๐Ÿ™‚

    Like

    • Yanic A. says:

      My daughter did the same thing. She kinda had a time when she didn’t want to speak English even though she could understand it very clearly. But when she was 3, we went to spend 2 months at my in-laws in Pennsylvania and she quickly unblocked. Within a few weeks, she was speaking nothing but English. So now, she is fluent in both.

      Both my kids were very early walkers 9 and 10 months), but my daughter spoke more. It,s just about adjusting. Isn’t it always about adjusting???

      Thank you for sharing…

      Like

  3. Andrea says:

    I had late-speaking twins. At two years old, they weren’t quite delayed enough to qualify for speech therapy services (the bar is very low here). But because they were twins, and they had a busy older brother, I didn’t do a whole heck of a lot (it was all I could do to just keep it together, let alone add extra stuff into our days–which probably contributed to them being speech delayed). I kept talking to them and trying to manage the distractions so that they could talk (big brother who still wants to interrupt every word that comes out of little brothers’ mouths) and reading to them. The biggest difference came when they started to learn to read and could associate the letters on the page with the sounds their mouths were supposed to make when saying the words. In short, be patient: kids all develop at different rates. But also, don’t shy away from having him tested and taking advantage of any speech therapy services that might be available to you.

    Like

    • Yanic A. says:

      Thank you for your input… That is another thing I didn’t mention in my post, but he does have a big sister that NEVER-EVER stops talking… even we can’t get a word in edge-wise. Apparently, I was the same growing up and my sister didn’t speak until she was almost 2 1/2. I promise I won’t turn down the help… I just hope not to get to that point. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Like

  4. Carlin says:

    Oops – i meant to leave my comment here and put it in the about section by accident (i was trying to answer my own question). Here it is again ~

    I had no idea that you spoke French, may I ask where you live? (general, of course). We didnโ€™t have any speaking issues, but have had others (twins, growth, etc.). I know it gets stressful, just try and follow your gut about it. My husband always reminds me of that โ€“ I tend to get a bit stressed. Hope you get some good tips. Cute picture.

    Like

    • Yanic A. says:

      Here is my answer again. LOL! :
      Thank you for your encouragementโ€ฆ Iโ€™m from Quebec, Canadaโ€ฆ just outside of Quebec City. But my husband is American (now American/Canadian) so we speak both in the house. ๐Ÿ™‚ I know I worry too much. My husband tells me as well.

      Like

  5. I can’t offer any advice, except to say not to worry about it, follow his lead and just keep talking, and reading. As a family who skipped the medical route with our little man, we never knew where he was on the percentile chart, we didn’t know if he was late or early in meeting his milestones, we didn’t know if he was talking too much or too little. We just let him develop in his own way, in his own time, and low and behold it all worked out ๐Ÿ™‚ Personally, I think as a society, we put far too much weight on the milestone charts, and cause ourselves a lot of worry and concern when there really isn’t a problem. Yes, there are times we need to be concerned, but for the most part I think the majority of children develop on their own timeline, and turn out just right.

    Keep doing what you are doing mama. xo

    Like

    • Yanic A. says:

      Thank you Kim… I agree, there is a lot of emphasis on “generally accepted milestones”, but since we don’t intend on homeschooling, if there are little signals or hints I need to notice, I appreciate getting a heads up. But that is why we also chose to have our family doctor do the check ups and not a pediatrician. We wanted a general “weight, height, size, okay”, but didn’t want someone “looking” for trouble when there wasn’t any. You know?

      Thank you for your kind words… xox

      Like

      • Yanic A. says:

        I just reread my comment and it feels wrong somehow… I didn’t mean to say that homeschooled kids didn’t have to worry about milestones, I just meant that there will be a certain “group average” in his milestones in a standard school setting and I want to make sure he feels comfortable and happy with his peers by the time he goes to school. I know we shouldn’t teach our kids to just “blend in”, but starting school is nerve racking enough with feeling like you have lesser abilities. Does that sound better or did that still come out wrong?

        Like

  6. Don’t put too much weight on what doctors tell you. They are basing their recommendations and opinions on what is average. Well, in order for there to be an average, some have to be slower and others faster. In other words, don’t confuse “average” with “normal” and “not average” with “abnormal.” Go with your gut, your instincts. My 22-month-old prefers motion as well, so we incorporate a little bit of sign language to appeal to that part of his brain. Simple things like mama, papa, water, and pee (that last one really comes in handy). And don’t hesitate to use two languages at once. Research shows that kids are able too learn both and bilingual children tend to be smarter, so there’s that, even if it takes a little extra time for them to speak.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yanic A. says:

      Than you for that Carley… We don’t plan on taking away English for long (with our daughter, it was about 4 months)… Just to take away the confusion. It might not even be what is stopping him from talking, but it’s worth a shot. Like I said, not too worried now, just want to try and start stimulating that part of his brain. He makes so many noises… I know once he starts, he won’t stop. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thank you for sharing.

      Like

  7. sally says:

    You know your son better than anyone so I think it’s just a matter of trusting your instincts. I’m sure you’re doing all the right things and in a few months time you’ll wonder why you were worrying even a little bit.

    Like

    • Yanic A. says:

      I don’t doubt it… I’m not a huge worrier usually, but this is so different from my first toddler experience. Sometimes I feel like everything I learned the first time went out the window. Thank you for the encouragement. xo

      Like

  8. sophiezest says:

    Sorry to come in again. Just to say I think the point about sign language is a very good one. I don’t know about your part of the world, but in the UK Baby Signing classes are really popular and I took my children to a class from a very young age. They used several signs (drink, eat, swim, dogโ€ฆ) and it avoided frustration in that period between the age of one and being able to string words together. But in our case it didn’t last long because they both spoke early and prolifically, despite the fact we are a bilingual household. Howeverโ€ฆ they didn’t walk until 15 and 18 months respectively!

    Like

    • Yanic A. says:

      Would 18 months be too late for sign language you think? Would it risk slowing him even more if he finds another wordless way to communicate? I wonder… And yes, Little Miss was running at 10 months old and Little Man was fully mobile at 11 months.

      Like

  9. Autumn M says:

    ah yes, totally normal in bilingual families, and as you point out a very tactile child.
    bilingual friends of ours had a boy who was also a ‘late’ speaker. i also suggested 1 language for a while. another thing i noticed was that for the sake of speed and in wanting to help her boy, she accepted gestures and grunts all the time. with a reluctant speaker, if hand gestures and grunts work, they stick with it. children stick with things while they work and until they stop working, whatever it is lol. perhaps when he uses sounds or gestures find what you feel comfortable with to encourage a word instead.
    like, if pointing to his cup, you feign incomprehension… hmmm, what darling? he points and maybe frowns at your dullness lol, I don’t understand sweetheart. let’s see. oh, is it the CUP, the CUP. it takes time of course. maybe the 20th time he says cup because it works better than the pointing you’re obviously struggling to understand. he’s clever, so if given the chance he’ll work it out that a word is more effective. or maybe you’re already doing this!
    all the best, they come to language at some point. i’m glad you’re not worrying.

    Like

  10. bweist says:

    How fascinating to be in a bilingual household! I would love for my children to have that exposure, but I can see how that makes for other adjustments those of us in single-language households don’t have to make. I’m so glad you’ve been through this before with Little Miss. As a mama, I know that feeling of unrest when the doctor starts asking questions that may intimate a problem with our precious ones, having just made a repeat visit the pediatrician to check Moonglow’s hearing. She didn’t pass her last one in late December, but we discovered she had a viral ear infection. Thankfully now that she doesn’t have any fluid in her ears she passed all the basics and is only lacking in the very highest frequencies.

    Like

    • Yanic A. says:

      It’s funny you should mention the ear infection cause the doctor today checked his ears and said “I don’t think it’s his hearing because he seems to hear fine and there is no infection or liquid in his ears.” I didn’T even know that it could false a hearing test. I’m so happy your little darling passed just fine the second time around, what a scary place to be in. Thank you for sharing your story.

      I’m very thankful for our opportunity to speak 2 languages fluently. It is a great gift for sure. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Like

  11. erica says:

    my son was a very late speaker… and his speech was garbled through preschool. Now at sixteen, he is fluent in three languages (french, english and japanese). I can’t tell you how much i worried but he just took his own time. Looking back now, i only wish i had done a lot more sign language with him. Hope this helps Yanic !!!

    Like

    • Yanic A. says:

      Thank you for sharing your story. So happy it all worked out. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I’ve been looking online for resources on sign language, but I’m also scared that if I give him another way of speaking without words, he’ll just cling to that and make speaking even harder. Does that make any sense? I’m torn…

      Like

      • sophiezest says:

        Hi again Yanic,

        I went to BabiesCanSign with my two. Here is a link to their FAQ section which includes a question about whether signing can delay speech.
        http://www.tinysigners.co.uk/about-baby-sign-language/frequently-asked-questions/

        Here is the FAQ section from Sing and Sign, addressing the same question:
        http://www.singandsign.com/baby-signing/frequently-asked-questions

        I’m sure you can discover more information by having a look around the 2 websites.
        If you’re not interested in a class, Sing and Sign sells DVDs. Our children loved them. I don’t know if there’s an equivalent to all this in Quebec…

        On the other hand, as others have said, children develop at their own pace. It sounds as if your son is busy discovering the world in other ways, and that is just fine.

        Like

      • Yanic A. says:

        Thank you for the resources… I’ll look over those at nap time this afternoon. (Have both my lovelies today YAY! and we are heading out to the community center for crafts and story time.) I think it would be fun to learn a few words for sure. I think Little Miss would love it too… She keeps telling me that she just wants him to say her name… I think it is so sweet.

        Like

  12. Janet says:

    Hi Yanic,
    My daughter did not really start talking until she was 3-1/2 years old. She was our first born and we were happy to run and do whatever she wanted us to. No need to talk when we are falling over each other to help her or get her whatever she wanted. We simple started to ask her simple questions. When she was thirsty we would say “Ashley, do you want milk or juice?” When she really started to talk she has never stopped and now she is a teacher and LOVES to read.

    A sidenote she also did not walk until she was 18 months old. A very cautious girl. Everyone would have had us at many specialist but we did not give into that.

    Have a beautiful day!!

    Like

    • Yanic A. says:

      Honestly, we may have gotten so used to him speaking without words that we have started being complacent about it. We are trying now to encourage him using words by pointing and naming a few times before giving it to him.

      It,s very encouraging to know that even by speaking that late, there was no issue. Thank you for sharing your story xo

      Like

  13. Isis Loran says:

    Makaia was the same then out of nowhere she just spilled out 10-30 words a day. We were taken by surprise. She communicated so well with us and we understood her without words that it seemed to take awhile for her to use them. I truly believe every child is different and ‘picks up’ things at their own pace ๐Ÿ™‚

    Hurrah for a bilingual household! I learned fluent french by age 7 as we moved to France but since being an adult it seems tucked away. I think it’s still embedded in me somewhere just a lack of practice ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Have a wonderful weekend!

    Like

    • Yanic A. says:

      I hope so! That would be so awesome to suddenly have a fully vocal little guy! ๐Ÿ™‚

      You know, if you ever want to practice your French, try me! I’d be happy to practice with you. And believe me, no judgment… I’m still my husband’s French Teacher after 8 years.

      Thank you for sharing. xo

      Like

  14. he sounds like he is doing just fine and I would not worry about it. keep exposing him to lots of language, say lots of three or four word sentences and repeat what he says. He is still developing and growing. Both of our kids talked late and both decided to stutter developmentally when they were three and four. (quite stressful!!! but luckily a developmental phase)

    Like

    • Yanic A. says:

      It’s funny you should “repeat what he says”… I’m sure most of the people I run across think I’m insane. I’m always walking around with him talking super slowly, narrating everything and then when he makes a funny sound, I’ll just make the funny sound back. LOL!

      Thank you for sharing your story and the encouraging words xox

      Like

  15. Susan says:

    My nephew only spoke about 3 words until after 2 years old. When he was ready, (and his parents thought the day would never come) he started to chat a blue streak. It was like he was saving it all up until he was ready. So, don’t despair, just give him time.

    Like

    • Yanic A. says:

      Thank you Susan… I keep telling myself that when he does start, he will be very good at it because the sounds he makes (like rolling his Rs and clicking his tongue) are very hard to do. He,s not talking per say, but he sure is exercising his mouth muscles! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thank you for the kind words. xo

      Like

  16. Oh…I feel a bit ignorant not to know you speak French! I think it’s wonderful for children to grow up bilingual, but I know you have to take steps where they are needed, too. Best wishes in your English-only endeavor!

    Like

    • Yanic A. says:

      Actually, it,s the opposite, we will try French first since where we live is French :-), but either way, YES! We are very lucky to have our kids exposed to both at such a young age… they are absolute sponges. But also yes to de-tangling the mess of words in their little noggins. It can’t be easy and I’m sure it leads to much frustration. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Like

  17. Carie says:

    I’ve no advice I’m afraid, just to say that he’s lovely and it sounds like he’s approaching the world at his own speed and in his own way – and it sounds like your paediatrician is awesome!

    Like

    • Yanic A. says:

      She is pretty amazing for the simple fact that she is not a hot-head, ready to diagnose issues left and right… We are pretty lucky to have her. Thank you for your kind words. xo

      Like

  18. Chelsea says:

    First off I am so sorry I have not been visiting more regularly. Somehow, it hasn’t showed up as a link and I didn’t know where to find you! One of my dearest friends speaks English and Spanish in her home and they have had similar issues, and then just one day it seems to click and make sense. It’s so interesting how that works. Being able to speak French sounds pretty amazing, can I come stay?! Maybe I could finally learn that second language from your little bits:) they are beautiful btw, the pictures in the previous post are stunning!

    http://www.hollandsreverie.blogspot.com

    Like

    • Yanic A. says:

      Please don’t apologize… we are all busy here, I’m just so blessed to have people come and say hello. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thank you for sharing. Wish you were closer, I would totally teach you guys some french. My daughter could take care of your little ones. She’s fully bilingual now. I’m kinda hoping that it’s not a confusion issue and that he is just waiting for the right time. I know he will follow instructions in both languages, so hopefully he starts speaking in both as well.

      Thank you for the lovely comments. Means a lot considering how beautiful your pictures are always. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Hope your week-end is amazing.

      Like

  19. So, I am a bit behind here! And I tried to read everyone elses’ comments, but there are so many! So, I hope I am not repeating too much. I figured it was worth chiming in because our eldest was “speech delayed,” and we did end up doing speech therapy with him. I tend to side with Kim, that letting them unfold in their own way is the most important, respecting their own process and all of that. But when our son had no words except Mama and Papa at 21 months, our family doctor, who is an anthroposophical doctor (meaning his a board certified physician but also a homeopath in the realm of Waldorf philosophy), strongly encouraged us to seek services for him. He is very respectful of children, but strives to find the middle path between “let them unfold in their own right,” and “training them to be perfect little people.”–that sometimes you have to take them by the hand and show them the path. His perspective was that when a child is very behind on a milestone, it can cause them frustration and hold them back from developing in other ways. So, we took his advice and found a play based in home therapist. She was great, not pushing or anything, just encouraging. She gave us a strategy every week, like focusing on three or four specific words, or saying the word of the object he was pointing at and encouraging him to repeat it. Then, moving on to two word phrases, etc. It was hard at first, I was very skeptical. And, our son did go through some growing pains, enough that I wanted to stop. But, a wise older early childhood person in our community recommended a “therapeutic rest,” and then to start again, commenting that learning and growing can sometimes be uncomfortable–painful is taking it too far, but uncomfortable is okay sometimes. As he began to be able to communicate more you could seem him become much more content and his confidence grew. He is very active, but also thoughtful, which I think led to an odd combination of being more interested in moving, and also wanting to think everything out before he did it. The therapist remarked that when he did pick up words they were almost perfectly pronounced, which is not common. He likes to have a good handle on things before he acts upon them! The goal was just for him to communicate effectively, which took about 9 mos. Now he talks non stop, telling us endless stories from his own head! Hope this long sharing of our experience is helpful in someway!

    Like

    • Yanic A. says:

      Thank you so much for that Coco, that is a wonderful share and I’m glad it all worked out. Although I am trying to take a more “zen approach” to his seemingly complete lack of interest in talking, I’m also starting to do my homework. I’ve found a center here that offers play based therapy that happens in their facilities that are a sort of baby gym (gymboree) so I’m thinking in a few months, if we see no progress, I will give her a call. But I think I may try that… pick 3-4 words to concentrate on this week. Thank you for telling your story and sharing. xo

      Like

  20. Appleshoe says:

    Oh I wish I had more accurate information here. Than man that coined the term “milestone” regretted it because people took it as some sort of written law that children had to reach these “milestones” or there was something wrong with them. Trust your instincts. My boy is also not quite reaching this talking “milestone” and I don’t believe there is anything wrong.. Well.. For the most part, but that is something else. Your son is working so hard at everything else right now. Words will come. One thing we do is to over use words. When reading we say things like, ” do you see the dog? Show me the dog. What does the dog say? Good little dog” and so forth.

    Like

    • Yanic A. says:

      Thank you for posting your experience. I know our boys are very similar in so many ways. It’s what we have been doing. Focusing on simple words. We’ve decided on 3 words to use as much as we can (see Coco’s comment)… We already see some progress in just 2 days. Like we decided to work on milk, hand and baba (bottle)… In just 12 hours, now when I say “Milk baba in mama’s hand please”, he brings it to me right away and says “Mama”. I ask for things in my hand, I ask him to put out his hand… he does both. No sign of him saying it yet, but he understands and that alone makes my heart sing. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Like

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