October 24, 2012

Leaves Without A Peep

As a mother, it's normal to worry about my child (please tell me it's normal or else I am in big trouble!). I worry a lot. I worry about everything and Little Smith is no exception. If I had been blogging in his first year I could seriously have done a daily update with a fresh new freak out. You wouldn't necessarily know it if you met me, I don't seem nutty like that, but just check my google history. No wait, please do not check my google history.

I do know that whatever my latest nail biter might be, it's almost certainly all in my head and in a few months I will laugh and dismiss it. I wouldn't want a bigger Little Smith to look back and wonder if he was too slow at some milestone just because his mother is a wee bit neurotic, so for the most part I try not to enumerate my concerns here.

Happily, this year has also been far more mellow. I guess that a little experience has given me the confidence that everything will work out. After all he did crawl, did get hair and teeth (although he still doesn't have many... I'm trying not to worry). Each child is so different and it really is not fair to compare them, but it's also really hard.

At nearly two, Little Smith still is not really talking. He babbles and he does communicate, but it's his own language with very few clear words and he doesn't 'repeat after me' the way many other kids his age seem to. Most of his friends are speaking in sentences, 'these my punkin socks', 'I go outside now', 'mama hit curb with car'... yes those are real quotes from a couple of 23 month old's.

My guy just is not there yet, and sometimes I worry that it's something I am doing. Maybe I don't engage him enough or talk enough, maybe he doesn't get enough time with other children or should be watching some TV. I understand so much of what he wants without words and I get his gibberish (wyanese as we call it) so I might not be giving him the opportunity to use language.

Lately he's been obsessing over leaves. We have been collecting leaves on our daily walks and he loves to carry them proudly, then throw them in the air and shrug his shoulders looking all around and asking, 'air eef go'? No one has a clue what he's saying but I clearly hear, 'where did the leaves go?', and and play along. It's possible that if he was with a nanny or at a daycare where no one answered a babbled question he would get frustrated and try harder, but how can I pretend not to understand the cutest grunts and babbles in the whole world? I can't.

I know that in time he will be talking, it will probably be a sudden explosion of language and I will lament another step away from babyhood and say he is growing up too fast. I love that we are so connected that we can communicate to one another with very few words. He's perfect and he's just as he should be, but it is tough, when you are the primary person responsible for a kid's development, to know that you are doing it right. Am I  as informed as I should be, am I making the best choices?

I do get wrapped up in this second guessing, but thankfully an afternoon with Little Smith always reminds me to lighten up and just let life happen. Sometimes you just have to shrug your shoulders, throw a few leaves, and enjoy the silence while it lasts.

*these pictures were taken at a cemetery near our house with some gorgeous maple trees that we enjoy. we are always very respectful when we visit.


  1. It will happen, and when it do begin it can even be clearer than it would have been if it had come faster. My youngest has always been taking his time, but when he finally does it (whatever it is) it´s much more a skilled performance than when his older brother did the same at that age! :-)

    But regarding worries - I hear you! I always worry too, things it´s in the mama blood..! :-)

  2. My oldest daughter started talking at 11 months {in complete sentences-- she was a gabber}. My son didn't start talking until he was nearly 3. My youngest daughter started right around 2. Each in his/her own time. Hang in there, I know the Mommy Worry Loop!

  3. The photos of your little boy are so cute! Love the last photo especially, he looks so happy :)

  4. So funny! I went to a cemetery with Alice last week, too. The leaves were gorgeous there. And it was so peaceful!

    Oh man. The worrying! It can be all-consuming. My current freak-out is that there is another 7-month old who IS crawling... and Alice is not. But then I noticed that this particular 7-month old has no teeth. And Alice has two. So, you're right, it isn't really fair to compare babies.

    You are so not alone! XO.

  5. As a mother it's only natural to worry and I'm sure all will come with time. I used to find some parents to be more then a little pushy with their little ones development, which was frustrating enough just to see what they were trying to do let alone how the child was feeling.

    Enjoy these times when all is a babble - little smith will be pronouncing with the best of them soon enough and if like me you'll look back and think I miss those little ways. And if you understand then that's all that matters.

    Nina x

  6. I think the worrying is so normal... especially with your first. But it sounds like Wyatt is totally on par with talking! I would consider his sentence a real sentence! I think that by the age of 3, others should understand most of what they say, but by the age of 2, I think a lot of kids (especially boys) are barely talking.

    If it's any consolation, the little girl I watch once a week (she is 2 1/2) barely speaks, and when she does, I really struggle to understand her. BUT she is totally normal and on schedule.

    And I think you are awesome for not letting W watch TV. Awesome!

  7. I hear your with the worrying. Our little boy is 10 weeks and was late with the social smiling-- or was he? They say it comes 6-8 weeks and for him it was like... 9 weeks. And I was freaking out because I had been waiting for it since 6 weeks. I mean how ridiculous. A good friend said her child was early with social smiling at 4 weeks so maybe I had been waiting until then. In any case, I googled the hell out of social smiling and was preparing myself for autism. Seriously. When the social smiling came (so adorable) I was relieved and made a mental note to chill the hell out. Easier said than done. I predict little Smith will be jabbering along in no time. P.S. My brilliant younger sister-- a wit-- did not start speaking until 3-- and when she did it was full sentences :)

  8. P.S. You not engage your child enough? Seriously, this blog ever since I discovered it has been giving me a complex about how unstimulating our environment here in West Texas is. From just the few glimpses we get-- Little Smith's world is wonderous and sensually explosive! I love it!

    1. Thanks so much for the lovely compliment, very sweet! I smiled so much when I read your concerns about social smiling because that was definitely me throughout the first year, reading about what I should be expecting each month and then panicking and searching through all the possible awful causes for why it might not be happening. Sometimes the wealth of information at our fingertips is a curse. If you can chill out, it really is a great freedom. I'm much much calmer about it all now than in the infant days, but clearly still struggling :)

      Your little boy sounds perfect, 10 weeks yay!

  9. From one worrier to another.. give yourself a break! Gus has hit all of his milestones later than average. He is just now starting to string words together and there is only a handful of his words that he says in such a way that someone other than myself or Craig can understand. I honestly think all that matters is that they're trying to accomplish these things- crawling, walking, talking...whatever. That being said, I'm guilty of telling myself the reason Gus isn't doing more advanced is that I'm not talking to him enough, reading to him enough, working on language with him enough, and so on.. So, cutting one's self some slack? Easier said than done.

  10. I haven't met you in person, but I'm willing to bet you are a more engaging mother than most! You are exposing him to all kinds of day trips, and gardening, and exercise, and beautiful food. You are amazing. In a few more months, you'll forget about this worry...and replace it with another. ;) Honestly, do mothers ever stop worrying?

  11. Well if we didn't worry, we wouldn't be mothers. And you're a great mama, for certain. I worried about the same thing with Fletcher. He didn't speak too much until well into his 2nd year, and now he just won't shut up! They all go at different speeds, and boys can lag a bit behind verbally. Plus they tend to excel in one area when they lag behind, so I bet he's great at climbing, or mechanical play.

  12. Thank you all for the encouragement. Sometimes it's nice to hear that you are probably doing a decent job as a mama! Much appreciated.

  13. First, let me say that I've discovered your blog a few weeks ago and I really enjoy reading it.

    I feel exactly the same: we all do I think! My kid is 15 months old, he's my first and I've been worrying for... 15 months. He always seems to achieve major milestones (smiling, crawling, walking) later than other kids. And he's going to day care where, exceptionally, all the kids in his group had started walking by the age of 12 months, so I have too many opportunities to compare! But he's been quite sick during his first year, and I have finally managed to understand they can't do everything at the same time. A friend's kid was late walking, but she had grown all her teeth at 12 months old, another kid I know only started to walk at the age of 20 months but he was raised in a bilingual environment and learning 2 languages at the same time. They all learn and do different things at different times.

    So now, I'm trying to relax (easier said than done!) and to look at Raphaƫl's other achievements, not just the major milestones (walking, talking, etc.) we usually focus on. So yes, my kid doesn't walk, as I am constantly reminded of by everyone asking "Is he walking yet?" but, hey, he can brush his (8) teeth by himself! ;)

    You seem to be doing a great job, so don't put too much pressure on yourself.

    Bises from Belgium

    1. Hi Anne, thanks so much for reading. It is one of the biggest temptations as a mom to compare, especially in the first few years with so many milestones to tackle. You seem to have a great perspective, 15 months is a fun age!

  14. It's hard when it's your first one... I totally get that. When Angus was two and a half, he still wasn't talking much and speech pathologist diagnosed him with moderate to severe expressive language delay. We did a few group sessions which were quite helpful, and within a few months he was speaking in full sentences! I never did the home exercises we were meant to do, so part of me always wonders whether it was just his own timing.

    Meanwhile, Pete, who's now four months from turning three, still doesn't speak in whole sentences but Jamie who's only one and a half is talking like a two year old! And we haven't done anything different with any of them so I've concluded that each child is just really different....

    Thinking of you Lilly.

    Ronnie xo

  15. hello! it's my first time here - your space is lovely, i'm happy to have discovered it.

    one of my brothers was quite slow to speak. He also grew hair really slowly so looked like a gigantic baby at 1 and 1/2. Now he's soon going turn 19. He is articulate and thoughtful. He does have difficulties finding words to elucidate his feelings, and needs a calm space and no expectations to talk about things that he finds difficult. he is also going to be a sports radio commentator - he will talk your ear off about cricket statistics/rugby etc (we are in NZ, can you tell?)

    I used to work in early childhood education and it is not at all unusual for mums and dads to be the only ones to understand what their kids are saying. It would happen all the time and the parents would always get a bit alarmed about it - "he means where's the other dinosaur!" but if the parents didn't notice the kid would instinctively communicate by repeating and gesturing and then give you a massive smile when you understood..

    Your wee man is gorgeous - he has such an expressive face! x

  16. It's so easy (and normal) to worry. I bet he's listening, storing, learning and will surprise you in his own time; which will probably be sooner than you think. :)

  17. Your son is adorable. It's hard to know what's "normal"...especially the first time. One thing you could do is repeat what he says how it's supposed to be pronounced. That might help him hear how it's supposed to sound. Even if he's not repeating you, he still is listening and "getting it". And you're right: every child is different. So just keep encouraging him and showing him how it should sound. It sounds like you're doing a great job as a mother, and your time at home with him is the best thing you can give him. It's priceless!


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