Upon coming home from work late at night, I scoop up 3-year-old Timmy and bring him to the bedroom for a round of play.
Me: “Hello Timmy!!!!! I missed you so much! Where’s your Mommy?!”
Timmy: “Offs.” (Office)
Me: “What?! I’m here na! Where’s your Mommy?”
Timmy: “Hom.” (Home)
(Guess I’ve been coming home too late, eh?)
Timmy and I are playing with a flashlight. I get an idea to play dentist.
Me: “Timmy! Shine the light in my mouth so you can see my teeth!” (opens mouth WIDE open)
Timmy: (shines the flashlight in my mouth, grins, then points at me) “HIPPO!”
After dinner. My husband is asking me to prepare dessert. Timmy is seated on the couch between us, quietly playing with his toys.
Husband: “Wifey, I want dessert.”
Me: “Okay, what do you like — fruits or ice cream?”
Me: “Fruits or ice cream?”
Me: “Dad, fruits or ice cream?”
Me: “FRUITS OR ICE CREAM?!”
Timmy: “IM!!!” (Ice cream!!!)
My son’s a late talker. He didn’t start talking until this year, shortly before he turned 3 1/2 years old. His late speech development was a source of concern for me last year, especially since he’s to start going to school this coming June. Last year it was all babbles and gestures. The only full word he could say and mean was “Go.”
“He’ll catch up, don’t worry,” my husband assured me. He was a late talker himself, having started talking at the age of 4. “It’s genetic.” This was a big reason why I was not super worried about my son’s speech lag.
The funny thing is, I wasn’t all that worried either until folks began saying “Maybe he should see someone…”
Gut feel dictated that there’s nothing wrong with our son, but we went with the tests anyway. What if we were wrong? So we did see people.
We saw a pedia-neurologist. He was really awesome, but we felt the suggested next steps weren’t for us. One of the suggestions was to go for an MRI. While I respect that recommendation, I felt it was unnecessary considering there were other options we could try first. Like a child speech therapist.
And so we saw a child speech therapist. She was really awesome, and we learned a lot from her. Timmy, however, was horrified. He threw tantrums, cried buckets and was highly uncomfortable with the authoritative approach. This worried me a lot, since I wasn’t in the room with him during sessions. We lasted about 3 sessions. It came to the point that Timmy wouldn’t ride the car anymore, afraid that we would take him to the therapist. When we’d ride the car to go to the mall or to buy food, he’d resist being put in the car and cry continuously all the way till the main road, then only calm down when he sees that we’re nowhere near the vicinity of the clinic. Other Mommies in the clinic advised that a lot of the kiddie patients usually take a long time to warm up to the sessions, that crying is normal. I respect that, but I felt it wasn’t a good environment for my son at that specific time in his life. So I took him out of therapy and decided to just carry on with what we were doing at home.
Like talking and playing and reading and watching TV and learning and running and playing with gadgets and all. We consciously made efforts to lessen his TV viewing times. Other than that we just carried on. Gut feel, remember?
This year, he began talking. Short words, small words. Little words strung together to form a sentence. Words expressed in toddler talk, but said with much intention.
Pis oh-peh. Please open.
Towowee. Toy Story.
Wang. Two. Tsee. One, two, three.
Yewowas. Yellow Rice. (Rice with Star Margarine)
Timmy with “Jeh” and “Woowoowoo” (Jessie and Woody)
The list goes on. His vocabulary continues to increase, quite rapidly so. He’s mimicking us more, which is a source of amusement for all at home.
Me: “Oh sorry.”
Timmy: “Oh soyoyee.”
So yes, finally, Timmy-isms. We have a notebook in our household foyer which everyone is encouraged to update as soon as they hear Timmy say a new word or when a funny thing occurs (like my Hippo anecdote).
I’m happy that he’s learning to talk in an environment that’s very nurturing and supportive. Sometimes all you really need is patience, trust in your instincts and the courage to let the little one shine. He starts school this June. For sure he’ll learn a lot more words and speak up more with kids all around. I’m psyched for him.
Me: “Timmy, do you love Mommy?”
Timmy: (nods) “Yesh.”
Me: “I love you.”