I have a little book on my night-stand that I love to read to my little babies. It's entitled, Leo the Late Bloomer and it's by Robert Kraus. This book tells the tale of little Leo who is taking his own sweet time to learn, grow, speak ... bloom. Papa Lion is a tad bit worried that Leo can't, "do anything right". He has trouble drawing, writing, reading and even eating without making a mess. Momma Lion assures Papa that Leo is just taking his time. Over the following pages, you see the anxiety in Papa, the patience in Mama and the slow blooming of Leo. In the end, of course, Leo blooms and everyone celebrates!
We have a little bit of a slow bloomer in our home and so this book really hits home. Our sweet Lydia has taken her own sweet time to start talking and, lately, we have thoroughly enjoyed her blooming!
She was quick to crawl, quick to walk and quick to climb ... but talking? Not nearly as interested. She found a few helpful words, "Mama", "Daddy", "Owie" (hold me), "Peas" (please) and "No", to name a few. And that's really about it. The rest of the time she communicates with babbles or her feet and hands. She is really good at get her point across if you have something she wants. :)
I have had mixed feelings with her slow-to-bloom-ness. With her being our fourth, I could attribute her limited vocabulary to be the result of simply not needing to talk. There are three other kids that can speak for her, so why bother?
Also with her being #4, I am significantly more relaxed with her development. I have watched my other babies move along through the childhood milestones at their own pace and even those who started off slow in any particular area, have seemed to catch up just fine.
But a mommy heart is still very sensitive to how each child is doing and how well they are relating to the people around them. And if one of the kids only has a dozen words (most of them being in the negatory -category: "no", "don't" and "stop") ... it's perfectly natural to feel a little anxious. How will anyone else be able to take care of my little Liddy? How will anyone else know that when she wants to see the "bebe" song she means "Jesus Loves Me"?
It's also very natural to compare this "in-her-own-time" kid with other kids her age and even her siblings when they were that age. When Norah was two she spoke in complete sentences and used crazy big words like "consequence" and "appropriate". When Aaron was this age he grouped words together into phrases like "Help me, please." When Ashley was two, she was having trouble with ear infections, but she still would call her siblings by name.
Does that mean something is wrong with her?
Little Lydia is just blooming according to her own schedule. A pokey schedule ... but a schedule nonetheless. Each day she has a new word-like sound. :) Each day she associates yet one more word with something in a book or in the house ... and points it out repeatedly. Each day she interacts with us by following directions ... or at least, listening to the directions and choosing to complete the task half-way. Each day she learns a new animal noise ... my favorite being "eww" with a hand over her nose for skunk. Each day she discovers that she can do something new ... like walk backwards up the stairs. And each day we have the joy of celebrating her blooming!
Here is a little snapshot of our slow-going bloomer ... and little insight into two things: the lion-like-personality of our little Liddy and the seemingly infinite patience of her Papa. I love 'em!
I jumped in with the video camera after they had already been at this for a few minutes:
She has proceeded to consistently say, "Down, please" since that night.
An investment? You bet.
A celebration? Boo-yeah!
Now were are working on "Up, please" when she wants to be held ... sigh ... She'll do it eventually!