Gibberish

12.08.2010

For a while now, I've been worried about my two year-old's speech.  At six months-old, he started to say the famous "daddy, daddy, daddy."  "Ma ma" didn't come until he was closer to a year old.   And after that, well "hi," "bye," "no," and then...nothing.  He was always interested in watching us communicate, and he was particularly fascinated with the phone.  Since he couldn't say our words yet, he started his baby gibberish, and now, another year later, he's still hooked on his baby gibberish. 

For some children, baby gibberish actually sounds like something.  One of Lewie's playmates speaks very softly with a whine.  To me, his words didn't sound like anything until his mom would repeat them, "Oh, you want chicken nuggets?"  Once his mom repeated his words, I realized that her little guy was actually speaking.

I tried listening more carefully to Lewie's gibberish, "Ma lay ba ba ti um oom gee?"  Nope.  I got nothing.

Another one of my friends pointed out that her son actually made up words for things.  "Yeah, he doesn't like to say the word truck, so he calls them 'gagas'."

"Really?" I asked.

Sure enough, her son would point to the truck and say "gaga."

Once again, I'd listen to Lewie's gibberish carefully to see if he invented some words to mean things...but since his words came out as full, long sentences, with tone inflection and everything, I realized he wasn't interested in connecting words to things.  He was just doing his best to pretend he was having a long conversation with us like a big person.

"What did he say?"  lots of strangers would ask me as we passed by them at the store or mall.

"I wish I knew," I'd answer in response. 

As Little Lewie's friends started saying more and more words, I became concerned.  One of his younger friends already had about a 50 word vocabulary, another friend was saying sentences, and still another already knew how to count to ten in both English and Spanish.   These were all boys.  I didn't even dare try to compare his linguistic skills to any girls.  They were even more advanced.

So, as concerned as I was, I started listening to people's advice--you know, the well-intentioned people that think since their children know more than yours, they must be better at parenting than you.  Some encouraged me to read books to him.  (Um, yes, I've been doing that since he was a month old.)  Another told me that I shouldn't let him have something until he says it.  For five minutes one day, I held his sippy cup in the air trying to make him say the word cup.  He screamed, he cried, and after thinking his ma ma was the meanest woman in the world, I finally gave it to him.  The advice succeeded in tormenting my child; however, it didn't actually work in getting him to say the word cup.

Several weeks ago, a friend gave me a copy of her Baby Babble DVDShe said it had helped her son say more words and thought it could help my little boy too.  So one evening, I played the video, and while it seemed rather amateur (with very simple pictures of toys moving and people making funny faces and sounds), my little boy was hooked.  Not only was he hooked, but he started taking an interest in repeating words and sounds.

 How is this possible? I said to myself.  I've said the same words and sounds to him a million times before, and he never showed interest in repeating them.

Now that he's watched this video half a dozen times, he's now been trying to say our words.  Every day, a new word or two seems to be added to his vocabulary, and although he might not repeat the same word again if we ask him, he's at least trying.  Now, new words include   car (kar),  cookie(gookey),   butter (butr),   bath (baa),   baby (babe),   up (uh),  down   (own).   His sound effects have improved too.

video

Yes, milestones are fun because they are a sign that your little one is growing into an adult, but at the same time, I've also learned that milestones can instil fear, especially when your little one isn't meeting the same timelines as other children.  On the one hand, I want my little guy to stop his gibberish and start saying our words, but I have to admit...Oh how I will miss the days when his baby gibberish is gone!

10 comments:

  1. Have you thought of speech therapy? My LO is 22 mos and he was the same way once he started ST he's gotten a lot better. Good luck to you and your LO.

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  2. I totally agree about the milestones! They can stress the heck out of you when everyone else is doing things that you kiddo isn't. You are smart to stay on top of it, though, since speech delay is totally something they can help with if it doesn't improve!

    He's so cute....

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  3. Milestones can be really fear-making! I'm so glad you found something that's making a difference for Lewie. Georgia rolled over once, on accident when she was 5 months, and then never did it again. She couldn't go from laying to sitting to standing without help. At every doctor's appointment, I would ask about the milestones and the doctor brushed it all off because she could walk by 10 months (if we stood her up, of course). Finally at her one year check-up, we got a rec to go see an OT. 5 months later, she was running, crawling, sitting up on her own, and rolling. It was such a relief to see her meet those milestones! Though I agree, I miss the days when I could go to the bathroom alone, leaving her sitting in a circle of toys.

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  4. That's great that the video helped. Sometimes, kids need a little push to help them out! If you're still a little concerned, getting your son into early intervention to get him speech therapy wouldn't be a bad idea. A speech therapist would probably work wonders!

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  5. That video is so cute, What a cutie pie he is.
    I think your doing the right thing just trying to help him along. But it sounds like he's doing good. Some kids to speak later than others. If its still an issue in a few more months maybe do what Cheryl suggests and ask the Pediatrician about a speech therapist. I mean I don't think its too early or too late by no means. I had therapy to control THE VOLUME OF MY VOICE (HAHA, seriously I did) when I was 6 years old and it helped me to not yell everything I said. Can you imagine my poor parents trying to get that to stop. HAHA. Bless them!

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  6. "Oooh noooo!" That video is so cute! I love his little voice. Yeah developmental milestones can really screw up a parent. Kids just develop so differently. It can be hard to know when something is just going to take your kid a bit longer or there is an actual problem. I had a week-by-week book that always listed milestones well before Nate accomplished any. It made me feel totally inept (which I realize is ridiculous)as a parent. I finally stopped reading the stupid book. I decided I wouldn't be concerned about anything unless my doctor was concerned. That's awesome that the video is helping. Keep up the good work Lewie!

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  7. So true, milestones really can be fear making, happy moments, and sad all at the same time. I think it is just another one of those things that makes us realize just how fast time fly's by us! I am so glad you found something that he really enjoys and encourages him to talk. Hope you have a wonderful day!

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  8. I know sometimes these milestones can make us crazy because you know every child is different and will reach milestones at relatively different times. That being said however, listen to your gut, if you feel your little guy is truly behind, have him evaluated. Just remember, try not to compare too much...that can make anyone crazy!

    By the way, he is completely adorable!

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  9. Yay Lewie! I'm guilty of comparing Scotty to other kids and what they can do too! I'm a bit of a pusher, so he took a bit longer to potty train than was absolutely necessary...and certain words/sounds he finally got when I stopped pushing. They all learn at their own pace...AND mine has shown he can be as stubborn as his mom and wants to do things his way :)

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  10. Hard not to have predetermined milestones in our heads isn't it? This video looks interesting!

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