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Apples and oranges

January 18th, 2004 · 2 Comments

The other day while I was walking Elisabeth in the hall, I began wondering why she wasn’t as talkative as my other two were at the same age. In my journal, I have a list of all the words Abigail could babble at eighteen months. She knew that a cow said “moo” and a dog “woof”. And I remember Michaela started talking early, claiming “Mama” when she was only months old. Although I taught them sign language, I stopped after a year or so, when they each started speaking words.

But so far our youngest doesn’t say that many words, at least not ones that I recognize. I’ve had to scramble to find more sign language for this baby. Elisabethese, so far, mostly seems to be a combination of intonated “bah”s and “dah”s. Using these two syllables along with her eyebrows and smile seem to be enough to get her whatever she needs, sometimes after a little trial and error.

At her fifteen month check-up she barely passed when the doctor asked if she could speak four words. “Does bbbbbb count?” I had to ask, not sure if her sound for “please” would count as a word. But it did. The other three were “Ah” for Abigail, and “mama” and “dada”. She does some cute lip oscillations too. But I don’t count those as words either.

So on this afternoon I was walking with my daughter in the hallway, recalling how I’ve been surprised that our #3 has been slower with her speaking and walking than I had thought, slower than either of her sisters.

Out in the hallway where we were walking, the girls play with a plastic oven, refrigerator and food set. Elisabeth and I encountered a little red orb lying on the carpet in the hall. It’s a tomato but the girls refer to it as an apple.

“Apple,” I said to Elisabeth. “Apple.”
And she replied, “Apple”!
Maybe I was just hoping to hear a word, and she was really saying “Ah -buh”. But it seemed to be a word, her first real word with more than one syllable.
She had surprised me again!
For the rest of the day, the girls and I carried around that red piece of plastic, just so we could hear her say “Apple”!

Ted, of course, thought it was a particularly appropriate word, given his recent change back to the Mac.

Since “apple”, Elisabeth has started to say a few other words too, or at least they sound like words, expanding her Elisabethese to include “doll” and “uh-uh” (shaking her head) “yea” – and “uh-oh” too.

When I was thinking about the title of this post, the phrase “Apples and oranges” came into my mind. And I realized that trying to compare one child to another is like comparing apples and oranges.

Tags: family

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 medmusings // Jan 18, 2004 at 11:45 pm

    infants on their way to speaking

    Julie blogs today about a common concern, that our 18 month olds don’t talk! It’s well within normal, but it’s probably more concerning to Julie since her other 2 daughters spoke early in infancy. Nally’s the same way, choosing to point and utter “UUNG…

  • 2 Tamara // Jan 20, 2004 at 11:34 am

    They’re all so different.

    My middle son had only two recognizable words at that age. I could figure out a few others. I always worried about his hearing, because he never came when called either. 🙂

    As he gets older, I realize how much of that is part of his personality. He has a strong inner world and is uninterested in words or analyzing things. He just wants to DO.

    My little ISFP, totally different than his older brother a strong INTJ. The boy with 30 understandable words at 12 months and 2-3 word sentences by 16mo!

    I’m learning to stop comparing and enjoy. Even try to teach them according to their bent.

    Good blog. Congratulations to little Elisabeth.