Is she talking a lot?

First they ask how old you are. Then upon hearing that you are 17-months old, the next question is inevitably, ‘Is she talking a lot?’. They don’t mean anything by it, and it is a harmless question, really. But lately it’s making me want to scream. I’d like to scream that no, you aren’t talking much at all. You’re making lots of sounds, you know dozens of words, you follow directions, but no, you aren’t talking. That you are in fact going to speech therapy, that you have been classified as a ‘delayed speaker’. Nana and Papa think this is all silliness, that you’re smart and aware, engaged and age-appropriate. In short, that you are fine. I feel this too, but I also trust the experts. The speech therapist said that most 18-month olds can speak about fifty words. Fifty! I couldn’t believe it; I had to ask her to repeat, asking if she said ‘5-0 or 1-5’. It was the former.

You are very vocal. You are great with words starting with ‘ba’, and you excitedly call out ‘ba’ whenever you see a ball, or balloon, or when we ask you what a sheep says. You also say ‘da’ for dog, and you can say mama and dada, nana and papa. I’ve been trying to get you to say ‘up’, and just in the last day or so I think you’re trying hard too, making a sound like ‘p’ when you want me to pick you up.

But you are nowhere near 50. You also are not 18 months old yet, and the therapist was quick to point out that your speech could just take off in the next few weeks. She said that’s often what happens. But for now we’ll continue working with her, and with you, and helping you to learn to speak. I’m not too concerned, but I’ll sure be happy when more words start flowing out of your cute little mouth. And when I can answer these questions with a simple, ‘Yes, she’s quite a talker’.

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