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Can You Say “Bye-Bye?” “Doggie?” “Milk?”

July 12, 2013

In a word…no.

Lila had her 15 month check-up on Monday, and, as per usual, the doctor ran through a string of questions about her mental and physical progress: Is she waving?  Pointing to things?  Does she understand what “no” means?  Yes, yes, and yes she understands what no means, although it never keeps her from doing what we’re telling her not to do. 

Is she saying simple words?  Mama…dada…bye bye…dog?


She says mama (and often says mamamamama for everything).  And she points…a LOT.  And she said doggie once.  And she said Elmo once.  And my mother swears that she said “night night” once.

So we’re speculating that maybe she’s just trying out every single word once, and once she’s done that, she’ll start talking for real? Winking smile

Just kidding.  Kind of. 

Our doctor wasn’t concerned.  He told us to start using the pacifier for only bedtime and naptime, and that will free up her mouth for a lot more babbling and word-learning during the awake hours.  He also said that, as with everything in child development, there’s a huge range of “normal”—some kids are saying 25 words clearly by 15 months, and some kids aren’t talking at all.  If she still isn’t talking at 18 months, then we’ll have something to potentially worry about, but until then, he basically told us not to worry about it at all.

Easier said that done.

I’ll admit something: it *really* bugs me that Lila isn’t talking yet. 

I know, I know—every child progresses at their own pace, it isn’t that big of a deal, yada, yada, yada.  You know who tells you that the most?  The parents whose kids are really advanced at whatever “skill” it is your child is late in developing.

I know, because I was one of them.  I’ll admit something else: I *loved it* that Lila was an early crawler/walker.  Parents might not want to admit it, but I’ll say it: it feels really good when your kid reaches a milestone early.  And it feels shitty if it seems like maybe they’re falling behind.

It was easy for me to say to other parents, “Oh, don’t worry—I’m sure _____ will walk soon!  They all move at their own pace, and he/she will walk eventually.  They won’t go to college crawling!”  It was easy for me, because my own child was already on the go—crawling, walking, now running.  Again, I’ll admit: I loved it.

Now that the shoe is on the other foot, my parenting friends (both online and real-life) tell me not to worry about Lila’s lack of  verbal development—she’ll talk eventually! they chirp, as their own 15 month-olds babble on about balls, dogs, balloons, bubbles.  15 month-olds should work on their social skills—they really have no concept of what other people might want to talk about.  Smile

And the fact is, I know those parents are right.  I know our doctor is right, too—this is nothing to be concerned about, at all.  Still, it’s hard.  I think there’s a lot of subtle (or sometimes not-so-subtle) competition in the world of parenting—my child is doing this; oh, your child isn’t doing that yet?!—and it’s hard not to get sucked into that game.  Most of my real-life parenting friends are actually wonderful at not playing that game—what a relief!  But I’ll admit—I’ve had to stop reading certain blogs, simply because they started to have too much of a “LOOK AT MY WONDERCHILD!!!!!”-type vibe.

I know we all think our kids are special—and they are.  But they are not all geniuses.  They are not all future Olympic athletes.  And they are not all going to win Pulitzers because of their ability to say “Where’s Mama?” at 16 months.

There are milestones that Lila reached “quickly.”  There are milestones that she reached “slowly.”  And the reason I use quotations for both of those is because, the truth is, whenever she reaches each one is really just right– for her.

I can type that and know that it’s right, but it’s taking me a while longer to really accept it.  Hopefully in time!

xx—have a great day! 

19 Comments leave one →
  1. itzyskitchen permalink
    July 12, 2013 1:41 pm

    Totally feel for you. Kaylin was a little slow to get walking, then as soon as she did she was running, climbing and jumping like a crazy little person. SO…all those people who said “don’t worry she will” were right. But its definitely hard when you’re in the moment.

    • July 12, 2013 5:32 pm

      Exactly– I know she won’t grow up to be a mute (hopefully), but when you’re in the moment, it’s hard!! 🙂

  2. Kristi permalink
    July 12, 2013 2:22 pm

    Lila is just waiting until she can type on the computer, and then she will write her own blog.

  3. July 12, 2013 2:42 pm

    I feel for you, too. I think she gets her silence from me. I was a very late talker – seems crazy now because it’s hard to shut me up! She’ll talk when she’s ready!

    • July 12, 2013 5:32 pm

      Yeah, but you had Kathy to talk for you… 😉

  4. sarah permalink
    July 12, 2013 2:47 pm

    I completely understand where you’re coming from – I obsess unhealthily over milestones for my 6.5 month old. She doesn’t babble, but makes plenty of strange screeching and growling sounds, and it seems like everywhere I turn, I meet 6 month olds who are crawling and standing up. Compounding it is the fact that we formula feed, and there’s always that thought in the back of my mind like, “if only I’d tried harder at breastfeeding…” I know that’s ridiculous, though. I think it’s natural to be paranoid about your child’s development. And it can be healthy to some extent if it helps you engage them and encourage them to reach their potential. But it becomes detrimental when it keeps you from enjoying them. I have to remind myself of that every day.

    One other thing – my dad always told me I was behind the curve for most things (thanks, Dad), but when I finally mastered a skill I’d excel at it and outperform others. So it took me longer, but the wait paid off in the end. I’m sure that will be the case with your daughter – she’s just biding her time and there are paragraphs and paragraphs just waiting to emerge.

    • Lu Lu permalink
      July 12, 2013 3:05 pm

      Hang in Anna! At 2 year check, Dillon wasn’t speaking much, Mama, Dada, Bubba, not too much else. My Doc in all her wisdom, said “Let’s chat about this in 6 months”. I left worried and imagined all sorts of things. By next check, Dillon was talking but when he did it was in sentences. All are different and personality plays a major role. My child waited in most things til he felt he did it right. Something I worked at accepting and tried to nurture. Since I tend to jump into something whole hog immediately, I had to constantly not project myself onto his way of exploring the world. Parenting is not for sissies! ha! Love all the wonderful pics and stories of your life and Miss Lila growing up!

      • July 12, 2013 5:41 pm

        Knowing Dillon, all of that seems SO in line with his personality. Funny how early they start to show certain traits!!

    • July 12, 2013 5:34 pm

      It’s crazy how easy it is to obsess over those milestones!! I had to unsubscribe from my baby community e-mails, because I was getting a little too stressed about the milestones they’d talk about in every e-mail!!

  5. July 12, 2013 3:01 pm

    Oh, I can so imagine what this will be like! Pregnant with my first now, so I don’t KNOW yet 🙂 But my husband and I are such vocab and reading nerds that I’m already worried about how to handle it if our baby isn’t much of talker, or has no interest in reading books. Which makes me feel like the Worst Mom Ever. (Now if our baby has no natural athletic ability, THAT is totally understandable!!!)

    • July 12, 2013 5:35 pm

      YES! That’s the funny thing– we’re both English teacher nerds, so I thought, “Oh, she’ll probably be an early talker/reader and a late walker.” Total opposite! We don’t know where she gets her energy/ “athletic ability” from, because we both usually have our noses in books! 🙂

  6. Chelsey permalink
    July 12, 2013 3:31 pm

    I can so relate to this. Hilton didn’t really say anything until he was 2 1/2! I was really getting worried, what if he was mildly retarded, was it that drink I had when I was pregnant, etc. 15 months is really young, and you’re always more rushed with the first (there’s a whole new market for swimming lessons for 6 month olds and I assure you it’s only filled with first time parents. Those with 2 plus kids have learned, the hard way, that babies that age can’t swim and besides that, they’re too busy!!). I now cannot get Hilton to stop(!) talking and I now appreciate the babbling quiet of a two year old. You have a great perspective. It will come, I promise, and when it does you might find yourself longing for the quiet you once enjoyed. 🙂

    • July 12, 2013 5:41 pm

      Ha– yes. I say that to Ryan all the time– that we should appreciate her “silence” while we still have it. 😉

  7. Patti permalink
    July 12, 2013 9:44 pm

    You have had some great feedback on your blog. It is nice for you to realize that she is well within the nomal range. It is hard to not worry when it comes to your own child.

  8. July 13, 2013 3:29 am

    I read in my Baby 411 book that babies who are early to crawl/walk are late to talk and babies who are late to crawl/walk are early to talk. So Lila just proves that statistic. I can only image how hard it can be. The piece of advice I get the most is don’t play the comparison game with your child. Easier said than done. And if it makes you feel any better my best friend has a daughter who also is 15 months and doesn’t talk yet either. It will happen. Hang in there sweet friend.

    • July 13, 2013 1:32 pm

      That’s interesting! I’ve never heard that, but it totally makes sense!

  9. July 13, 2013 11:24 am

    I can’t really imagine what you’re going through, but at the same time I really can. Since Nick and I have been talking about kids, I start to think about being a mother more and more, and I can definitely understand this post!! While it’s “normal” for Lila not to be talking a lot now, it’s still frustrating that many other kids ARE talking more at her age. I completely understand that. Just wait, one day she’ll be talking so much, you’ll wish she would just stop!! lol. You’ll get to that “mommy, what’s this?” point, and you’ll look back and remember THESE days 🙂

  10. Erin permalink
    July 16, 2013 4:59 pm

    Hey Anna – you may (OK, probably not!) remember that my nephew was born the week after your daughter was. He, like her, was a early crawler/walker. He is also not saying very many words either, but yet loves to make plenty of noise! Not a pacifier user, but has had chronic ear infections for which he’ll be getting tubes soon. Just want to give you a virtual hug and let you know that Lila isn’t the only one!

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