My toddler just turned three and for the last year I have been reading and researching speech encouragement and yes, delays. He has a thing for keeping his mouth tightly shut which has even posed a problem for us during severe teething episodes as well. He would accumulate so much heat in his mouth, there would be more inflammation and “infection” than I might otherwise consider normal. But anyway, talking…
I am pretty sure that my daughter spoke a little sooner and clearer when she was his age. She went through the stage he’s in now, fluent gibberish, and occasionally blurted out a clear sentence and surprised everyone. So I know it’s coming soon.
Interestingly my son has two cousins that were born within months of him. He is the youngest but they are all three years old now. His female cousin talks so much so clearly that she is known for saying things she probably should not be saying at her age (the other day she kept repeating the word “prostate” along with any other genital reference she could remember). The other cousin, let’s call him Shawn, is the oldest of the three and has been experiencing delayed speech as well. I pointed that out because many people say that boys develop at a slightly slower pace than girls and I don’t like to categorize too heavily but I am seeing some truth in this.
While Shawn’s delay was more of a reluctance to express anything verbally, my toddler chatters away pretty much all day WITH HIS MOUTH CLOSED. It can be pretty annoying because he’s practically out of breath from it but I also give him his space to grow. Sometimes I tell him to open his mouth. Sometimes I advise him to just give it a rest for a sec. I am not perfect so…
My belief is that he has the potential to be vastly intelligent and won’t be a mumbling mess in college or even pre-school so instead of giving into to alarm, I relax and trust him. Parenthetically, some people like my folks or even random strangers tend to considers my sons developmental pace to be something of a problem. I choose to believe they mean well so I ignore them politely, which means I consider their views but with a grain of salt as the saying goes. Luckily there is much more encouragement that he is developing just fine and just yesterday a woman told me her son did that and even stuttered a bit and turned out fine. She did take him to a speech therapist though.
Shawn’s mother is a first time mom and seems a bit daunted by her son’s delay. I completely understand. When I read that Einstein experienced a significant delay, not speaking until he was 4 or 5, I relaxed even more. It’s not that I have a laissez-fair attitude about my son’s development, it’s just that i have reason to believe that it’s more of a personality feature and I happen to like it when people are not sooo… verbose. I know so many chatty adults who should practice the art of shutting up that I am thinking my son will talk when he has something substantial to say and that’s an excellent trait to have. In other words, as he finds that we are not quite understanding things like the fact that he wants more juice, the urgency will take precedence over his need to talk in his own little adopted closed-mouth style.
I have read and have had it suggested to me to look into lip or tongue ties. The idea of something needing to be cut or some surgical procedure being necessary for him to talk seems absurd to me and very intrusive. Again, I have too much respect for my son to rush him so vehemently that now their is a stranger cutting something in his mouth. It just doesn’t seem that dire to me. I also wonder if children who are “helped” in this way don’t end up with some sort of oral fixation or otherwise related issue after having this procedure. Maybe it’s freeing and a positive experience. I am not sure but it doesn’t bode well with my instincts.
Shawn’s mother took him to a speech pathologist/therapist. He has progressed about as much as my son. I am not around them enough to know if perhaps there really is a substantial issue there but he seems to be speaking more now and so is my little man.
Spiritually, I believe babies are coming here into our reality with infinite wisdom and slowly disconnecting from that stream of consciousness to learn very linear, simple concepts from us such as social norms and language. It feels better to me to allow them the slow integration into society’s slower vibrations in preservation of their inner peace and happiness. So although there are times when I say “C’mon honey, open your mouth” it’s only because he is practically yelling through his tightly sealed lips wanting me to understand. Many times I tune in to him for understanding as a compromise. Soetimes I can feel his frustration as he is having a conversation only he gets and ultimately, mama knows that once this little guy really opens up, we will be blown away by the things he has to say. Until then, I’ll simply offer more juice and wait for him to say “yesh.” That works for us, for now.