I just can’t hold it in any longer. I am exhasperated. And confused. Ezra is now about 26 months old, and he still isn’t talking. The oh-so-trustworthy Internet (blah) is telling me that at two years of age, a child should have 50 words in his vocabulary and be starting to master two, three, four, maybe FIVE word sentences. My two year old isn’t talking AT ALL. To date, this is his vocabulary:
I’ve only heard the kid say “Mama” ONCE, months and months ago, and he hasn’t come close to saying it again. He won’t say “Bye-bye” or “juice” or “please” or anything else he hears me saying a hundred times a day. He CAN, however, tell me every animal, truck, airplane, boat, train, and helicopter noise in the universe, and he’s got all the exclamations down: “Uh-oh!” “Nooo!” “boom!” “Ow!” “Oh no!” “wow!”, so- I know his hearing is A-OK, but he has no words.
My doctor says that Ezra is just fine with all of his other developments, so there is no need to worry just yet. He also said that I shouldn’t respond to his gestures and I shouldn’t give him things until he identifies the object or says “please”. If I followed that advice, however, Ezra wouldn’t have eaten anything or had anything to drink for a month. The kid just won’t do it. He would much rather throw a temper-tantrum and then find something else to play with that’s within arms reach. The people who spend more time with Ezra than my doctor does seem to think it is odd and unusual that he isn’t speaking much more than he is. I hate having to explain to people why Ezra won’t answer them or say things on cue. I hate the nagging thought in my brain that he’s “behind” or “slow”.
I feel completely torn on this issue, because half of the crowd is screaming “SPEECH THERAPY! STAT! NO TIME TO LOSE!!”, while the other half of the crowd is soothingly whispering, “It’s OK… my son didn’t speak until he was three, and he’s just fine.”
When I feel torn like this on parenting issues, I know that I just need to block out all the voices and pray and really listen to what my gut is telling me. On all other occasions this method has worked out pretty well. (Except for recently when I followed my “gut” and was mere hours away from boarding a plane when Ezra had a double ear infection.) But still… overall my gut has been pretty trustworthy.
I refuse to run out and plop him in some therapist’s office while royally freaking out because “OMG, my kid has to be mega-accelerated in ALL THINGS and little Joey in the nursery at church already knows his whole alphabet! Backwards!!“
Unless I have clear-cut reasons to take him to a specialist, he won’t be going. Am I old fashioned here? I refuse to parent my son out of a place of fear and I refuse to let the Internet persuade me to FREAK the FREAK out if my son isn’t comfortably fluent in HTML code by the time he’s 18-months-old. When you have faith that God is in control, google searches for parenting advice become… white noise. Loud, screamy, alarmist-prone WHITE NOISE.
Of course I want what’s best for him. But what’s best for him might just be letting him figure things out at his own pace… All day long I am trying to help him find his voice- repeating words and phrases until I want to duct tape my own mouth shut and take an eternal vow of silence. And without fail, he turns and he just looks at me with those stubborn little eyes and let’s me know (non-verbally, of course) that he. ain’t. gonna. budge. I feel like it’s more of a power-struggle issue than a physical/developmental issue. Little booger.
I don’t want to get into the habit or cycle of finding a ‘quick fix’ or an easy answer or a pill for this-or-that every time he’s not right on Dr. Thinksheknowsall’s schedule. All these developmental charts and articles and books really have no authority at all to me, because I can ask a mother to my left a question about their child, and pretty much be guaranteed that it will be an extremely different answer than the one I received from the mother on my right. So…
Am I just being your classic First Time Mom, here? Where the map is looking a little different and I’m beginning to sweat it a bit too early? When (if ever) do I draw the line and say enough is enough and seek outside help? How do I remain calm in the meantime?
What if he wakes up and starts speaking in complete sentences tomorrow and I feel like a complete mom-dork for posting this blog? (inevitable.)
Oh, the questions! The burning questions!