A Lesson in Patience, Yet Again

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!”
D: Pa-pa!
Me: Mom—
D: Pa-pa!
Me: Hey, Mommy naman. Mom-my! Mommy!
D: *giggles*
Me: (still insisting) Mommy!
D: Papa!

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.

baby's first food checklist

yep, I was keeping track. for a while.

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.

"talking" with Papa

“talking” with Papa

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.  🙂

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20 thoughts on “A Lesson in Patience, Yet Again

  1. I could relate to the milestone thingy, but accepted that they develop at their own pace. I was worried for a while, especially for my son, whom I thought was slow. But now, he likes school and reinforces his lessons by repeating the alphabet sounds at home. Now, to get him to write, is the mission. Hehe!

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  2. i’m still waiting for my son to say Mommy (or Mum), too. he just turned 1 but he has developmental delays so it would take quite some time before i get to hear him say it… all in his own time, i guess 🙂

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  3. By 13 months, my eldest was able to say the first syllable of a lot of words already, which made me worry for my second one. At the same age, we’re still a long way from the firstborn’s record. I attributed it to the subsequent child syndrome wherein less attention was given compared the firstborn. Less reading time, less flashcards time. Ay yay yay. Though I know that they develop differently, I still can’t help compare so I’m trying to make up by reading more, talking to him more. I suppose the time I can finally chill a little is when I hear him speak more hahaha.

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    • It’s hard not to compare sometimes, and as the youngest child in a brood of four, I had it up to HERE with comparisons with my older siblings. there was definitely pressure to achieve things, and I’m not sure but I think sometimes it also tended to push me in the other direction, you know, just to be a rebel, ha ha! So as parents, we have to be mindful of that effect. Mantra: each child is unique, each child is unique…:D

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  4. yes, you’re right, enjoy these years. i used to be a nut about the milestones, our pedia then laughed when he saw my marks at the back of my eldest’s baby book. and when he showed a slight delay in speech, since we couldn’t afford it therapies, I took it upon myself to research and apply the therapies on him., our youngest is a bit delayed and we noticed that he has a hard time pronouncing words but he’s getting better. i’m still figuring out how to fix my schedule so I can spend more time with him.

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    • haha, when I was reading your first comment I was already wondering if in hindsight, your youngest was really slightly delayed or it was simply mommy panic 🙂 I didn’t know that about Einstein! I read before, though, that he was really not very remarkable as an adult until he wrote his first paper on relativity. our kids can’t all be geniuses like him, but I guess they still have a bunch of surprises in store for us 🙂

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      • I guess they should at least be communicating in short sentences by 5. What you need to look out for are eye contact (they should be able to look at you in the eye when you talk) and response to sounds. And perhaps responses to simple instructions like “give me your bottle” or “close your eyes”. 🙂

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  5. I am not a milestone-nut, but I should tell you that tracking words is a really great help! My son started speaking words at 14 months pero paisa2 lang. But with the help of tracking, I was able to repeat those words he already knows to him, kaya he was able to master them. It also inspired him to expand his vocabulary! Now my son is speaking like most 3 year olds and even some 4 year olds. Not bragging, just telling you you’re on the right track!

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    • we sort of still keep track and I sometimes gleefully tell my husband the new words that have emerged. but I’ve stopped listing them down, he he. nagugulat na lang ako minsan when they’d suddenly say a word in the right context even if we haven’t been particularly drilling them on that word. I guess it helped that we talk to them a lot and never in baby talk too.

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  6. I could relate. My son is not an early talker too and I was so worried na gusto ko na ipacheck but one of his classmates has speech delay and medyo malayo naman anak ko dun. Though my son is not articulate like other kids, I’m still happy kasi may improvement, nakakausap ko at naiintidihan. Ok sa school so no worries. My husband always tells me na si Einstein nga may speech difficulty until 9 yrs old. 🙂

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  7. Oh how adorable to have twins! Everything’s doubled! the struggles and the joys! 🙂

    Not to worry on the language mommy, i really believe that each child really have their own pace! I’m sure you see that now! 🙂

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  8. Pingback: Words that hurt | adventures in ever after

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