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Toddler Speech: Look Who’s Talking

Toddler Speech: Look Who’s Talking

I like to think of myself as a laid back mom. The kind who doesn’t worry about every little thing, doesn’t compare her child to others and just enjoys her child for who he is. The mom who doesn’t sweat the small stuff and trusts that things will eventually work out.

While sometimes I am that mom, at nearly 21 months along, there have already been some notable exceptions. The first was with rolling. I’m not sure Liam ever truly rolled or at least not until he was walking, at which point it no longer really mattered. In the grand scheme of things it seems so minor, but when you’re reading the baby book and getting those development update emails telling you “your child is likely rolling by now” and that kid appears more likely to break dance than roll over, it can be unnerving. Was everything okay? Of course it was, but still it had me rattled.

Next, and far more substantial, was with talking and toddler speech development. At 18 months, Liam had a handful of words. And that is with generously counting the words he’d said once or twice and never said again. I was a little freaked out. We talked to our pediatrician. She was very reassuring, but even she said it was something we should monitor over the next few months and potentially take action on if we didn’t see an improvement. So we monitored. Closely. One good and bad thing about Liam being in a group care setting is that it is just so easy to compare. His class is made up of toddlers born within a few months of one another, so it’s pretty easy to tell where your kid fits on the spectrum relative to everyone else. As far as talking was concerned, he was definitely toward the lower end of spectrum but joined by several other boys (the girls in his class seem to be ready to recite Macbeth…what is it with boys?).

At 19 months things weren’t looking (or sounding, I suppose) much better. He had a few more words but almost none he used consistently. I was officially nervous. Was this part of a bigger problem? Should we look to start speech therapy now? On top of this, it was clear that Liam was frustrated by not being able to tell us what he wanted. Join the club, kid.

Then a funny thing happened. All of a sudden, he just started talking. Within the past month, we’ve been amazed at how quickly his vocabulary has grown. It seems like every day he’s got something new to say and all the months I spent nervously worrying now seem crazy. So, maybe I’m not that laid back after all. Either way, what I’ve gleaned from all of this is the importance of  patient vigilance when it comes to parenting. Trust but verify, if you will. These are the first in a series of infinite things I’m sure I’ll worry about when it comes to Liam, none of which I can control. I refuse to let them turn me into a total helicopter parent but that doesn’t mean I can’t quietly be a little anxious, right?

Are you a laid back parent? How do you keep from stressing about the little stuff?


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