I was going through my phone’s voice memos this morning. There are only three voice clips, all featuring the twins, of course. One was a recording of me and Baby D which went something like this:
Me: Say “Mom-my!”
Me: Hey, Mommy naman. Mom-my! Mommy!
Me: (still insisting) Mommy!
You get the drift.
The twins learned to say Pa or Papa long ago, even before they really knew what it meant – they’d just babble pa pa pa at random moments. Of course, the fact that they were just babbling didn’t stop their Papa from feeling all smug and proud about it, while I sighed and rolled my eyes and wondered when I’d get to hear Mommy.
When we went for a doctor’s check-up at around 19 months, our pedia said that the usual milestone for language development is that kids should be able to say 20 words by 18 months and 50 words by the time they turn two. Hala, we thought. We counted the words the twins were able to say at that point, and I think we could barely reach five! In all other milestones the twins were pretty much on track, but 5 words when it should be 20 seemed a bit off.
I figured it was too early to really worry, but still, after that pedia visit, everyone in the house became more mindful of encouraging the twins to speak, talking to them a lot and tirelessly repeating words and syllables.
For a while, I tried to keep track of the words the twins were able to say, listing them down—three columns, one for the word itself and two for putting check marks on which twin is able to say it. I wrote the list on the back of the food checklist I printed and displayed on the fridge door when they first started eating solids, to keep track of which food they’ve already tried.
And, like that food checklist, the words list enjoyed a short but enjoyable ride and then was pretty much abandoned. It’s still there on the fridge, but I stopped adding to the list when it reached twenty, and the twins were slowly but steadily adding words to their repertoire. I stopped counting and just enjoyed listening to the twins’ attempts at saying words. I stopped keeping track and focused on communicating, and knowing that the twins were not just reciting sounds but were aware of the words’ meanings as well. I marveled that they know the right context in which to use the word basá (wet) vs tulo (drip or dripping), and I laughed that they’d become so finicky that they’d complain about wet messes! I stopped focusing on the milestone, and just enjoyed the moments.
Every child is unique and there’s a wide range of normal, parents are told again and again. Again and again, I’ve had to learn this. The twins always seem to take their time reaching milestones, and I guess in a way that’s okay. Otherwise I might turn insufferable, boring people to death by telling them how “advanced” my kids are.
So chill, Mommy, chill.
And “Mommy”? They say that all the time now. 🙂