My sixteen month old baby B has started babbling!
Doesn’t sound much like news, does it? But he goes around laughing and talking all the time, and even repeats back to me the words I say to him. While looking me in the eye.
My four year old E never did these things. At some point, his trajectory changed. He did not imitate me, not even my facial expressions, not even as a baby when it should be reflexive. Except, he did say ‘tractor’ for a short time. And here I thought my daughter’s first word was telling. (Did you say, ‘tattoo’??)
Instead of talking, E walked at ten months. He conquered steps at twelve. When he was this creepy, walking baby (you know what I mean – a cute little baby head should not be on top of a biped. It’s weird.), he would push a doll stroller around our driveway, rain or shine, heat or cold. That’s what he wanted to do. I would read and watch him, or do dishes and look out the window at him, and there he would be. Pushing. A stroller. In circles.
My oldest child is twelve years older than the next one, so I hardly rememberbed what it was like to have a baby. With E, I looked up developmental milestones, and noted that he was way ahead with gross motor skills. As for the other things, well…we can chalk that up to eccentricity, right? It’s not as if he doesn’t have a wealth of familial sources.
Then along comes baby B. Sweet. Happy. Smiley! Baby B. He sleeps. He nurses. Not like a meth head or junkie, but like an infant. Who can quit whenever he wants. Really. And round about one year old, I noticed some strange sounds coming from his mouth. Sounds very much like the ones I was making, with inflection to match. Now, a few months later, he is a regular chatterbox. His enunciation could stand improvement, but he talks up a storm! It is a completely different world than it was with E. It’s fun, we laugh, we interact. We communicate.
E is considered only mildly autistic and highly functional. He does talk now, but only to people he knows well, and he doesn’t make much eye contact. The thing is, he is so high functioning, we might never have pursued any help. He might never have been given tools to reach his true potential. People told me all the time, “Oh, boys talk later than girls, you’ll see. Just wait.” But something in me knew. It was more than being late to things (which he got from me, just so you know), it was a different path altogether.
So, along with just not taking people’s advice, don’t let them persuade you that you are wrong. We mothers (especially). We grew these children inside of us! We released them into the world, provide their nourishment and love and everything they need. If something is niggling at you, or you see something in your little one that concerns you – ask someone about it. Do research. And you keep asking the questions until you get an answer you feel confident about.
You must do what will work for each one and for your family as a whole. And follow your gut. We are the ones who know our babies and know when something is different or wrong. And also, when things are just right.