Allie says a few words: nice, hi, hey, Dada, Mama (though very rarely), kitty, Gracie, buh (for bottle). It’s pretty much the same vocabulary she had six months ago.
A few times a day, she will repeat – almost perfectly – a word that I’ve said, but mostly, she points and grunts.
She walks over to the swing set, reach up to the swing, ugh! ugh! ugh!
She walks over to the refrigerator and pound on it. ugh! ugh! ugh!
She points at the phone or the iPad, ugh! ugh! ugh!
She points at the food or drink on the table, ugh! ugh! ugh!
She answers questions, but only if the answer is yes. She likes to nod her head up and down. It’s adorable because her shoulders and head and body bob up and down. She doesn’t answer at all if the answer is no.
You get the idea. Allie makes all kinds of sounds, but understanding and being understood via English just doesn’t make the repertoire.
Given her lack of language – she doesn’t even sign with any regularity, even though I sign to her – I worry that there’s something wrong with her. Maybe she’s not smart. Maybe she isn’t hearing properly.
My mind wanders.
I went through this with Grace, too, I think. By 16 months, Grace had an impressive vocabulary; she was speaking in full sentences. She’d written her first novel, and she was speaking in four languages.
Nonetheless, I worried that she was slow. I worried that she wasn’t making enough progress.
Back to Allie.
Yesterday, she signed more back to me after I signed it to her on the swing. “Do you want to swing more?”
I was impressed, relieved.
Today, she made a joke.
There were no words involved, just growling and grunting, but it was a joke. She grabbed my finger, said ahhhh as if she were about to eat something delicious, moved her mouth over my finger, and, when I said, “Don’t you bite me!” she laughed and moved my finger away. She did it over and over and over.
She’d pull my finger towards her mouth and growl and then laugh. A few times, she closed her mouth til her teeth just grazed my finger, then opened her mouth and laughed again.
I kept a straight face at first; I was serious. “Don’t you bite your mother!”
But after a few times, I knew she wasn’t going to bite me. She was teasing me, and I let her. She put my finger in her mouth over and over and then took it back out and laughed.
Eventually, I disintegrated into the same giggles that rippled through my husband and both of my kids.
So it turns out that Allie is smart after all.
And she has quite a sense of humor.
Hopefully, it will allow her to deal with her mother some day.
© 2012, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.