First Words

by longtallyarn

I’ve been waiting almost 18 months for this.

I love the stage my twins are in right now.  Parenting has been getting more pleasant for a while.  They are almost 18 months old and they are… well, words are inadequate.*

I’ve really been looking forward to the talking.  They have been a little delayed with this, compared to children of my friends, who are already vocalizing their thoughts with grace and subtlety.  I think spending much of their time with a baby their same age who also doesn’t talk has convinced them that they can make it in this life without that skill.  After all, brother doesn’t say anything and he’s getting along alright.

They can communicate.  When asked if they are hungry, they go and stand beside their high chairs if they are, or ignore the question if they are not.  When asked if they are thirsty they look around at the area where the cups are kept if they are.  They signal a need for a nap by crying and grouching or resting their heads on the furniture.  Most commonly they look in the direction of interest and say “Ehh.”  Alternatively they reach in the direction of interest and say “Eeeeah” in a much more nasal and whiney tone.  This is getting old.

I had a little wager going with my husband.  I had my money on Twin A since I thought he would talk first.  He had the largest vocabulary of random sounds a few months ago.  He has napped a lot less; this gives him the seeming advantage of more one-on-one time with a parent.  Turns out being well rested is an advantage in itself and it looks like I’m going to have to pay up.

Both boys have been saying “Da” for a long time.  They say it at every occasion.  They seem to call their dad “Adda” (emphasis on the “Da”) but they also say “Da” to me and also use it in addressing many inanimate objects.  This is why we decided not to count that because we couldn’t discern whether it was a word or a sound.

Around Christmas, Twin B said “Pawpaw” a couple of times with encouragement from my dad.  That’s what my father is called now that he has grandchildren.  B just said it a few times with prompting so I didn’t count it as a word since it was not within context.  Then a few weeks ago, Twin B said “ball” when we were playing with the ball.  Later that same evening he seemed to say “Blocks!” when we got out the blocks.  It was fully within context but he wouldn’t repeat himself so I couldn’t confirm whether it was gibberish.  Maybe if I wasn’t rooting for Twin A I would have given him credit for these words sooner…

Over the last week he has been using his words more and more.  My parents were here for a visit and Twin B got to say “Pawpaw” often.  He even practiced it in a whisper by himself.  He demonstrated his other nouns and added “Quack quack” to his vocabulary.

He has very rarely made any sound like “Momma” when addressing me, doesn’t respond to prompting, and doesn’t like to repeat himself but he is a little boy, not a parrot.  I owe my husband $5.  Twin A still limits himself to “dah” but I’m sure words are right around the corner for him, too.

*Maybe it is my own vocabulary that is inadequate.  Since this is a post about communication it should probably include a disclosure that filling my evenings with baby-time has not really helped my verbal or written communication.  My observational abilities have improved somewhat.