March 27, 2007

Finding His Voice.

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!


Anonymous said...

I just have to say I didn't walk until I was 2 years old. Imagine my mother's potential freakoutness.

You're right - this little boy's in God's hands. And I think your doc is awesome for not pushing you into the "hurry up and fix him" mode. I'll pray for you!

Misguided Mommy said...

I once read that kids who don't walk right away end up smarter because they spend less time concentrating on walking and more time observing the world around them. It is probably the same for Ezzy. I bet he will just be extra brilliant becuase he will be that silent tpye who just listens to the world around him and really absorbs something before speaking. The rest of the world can take a page from his book. I for one find it is much better to listen then to speak so it sounds like you have a great listener on your hands which means, You son will probably be a great friend to all. To each their own right, I'm sure, as soon as he has something really great to say, he will shout at the moon.

Scott and Lorie said...

My 2 year old niece went from baby babble to complete sentences literally overnight. I'm not a mom yet, but after watching my 3 very different nieces and 2 very different nephews grow into these small people I know that EVERY kid is different and develops at their own very different pace. Hang in there.

Maybe he's just one of those strong silent types that will drive the women wild when he's older=)

Cheatwoods said...

he is fine emery, i heard him say something, I forget the scentence now, it was probubly "Josiah would you mind not taking that toy out of my hands?" It would be most pleasing for me to play with it!" and my son said "indubidubly!"

I forget what exactly, but I made out a scxentenhce, working with preschoolers has made me an expert in baby giberish!

I do make Josiah ask for things and that might have helped, I dont know, all I do know is soon yoiu w3ell be saying "Ok Ezra, I got it stop talking now!!"
Hes fine!

Cheatwoods said...

BTW I was nursing and typing thats why the spelling is worse than usuall, im only using one hand!

sufferingsummer said...

I agree that every kid is different so telling you that my very wordy 5 year old nephew didn't speak more than two words together until he was well past two and his little brother who is now almost 3 is just starting to speak in sentences and they are two of the smartest boys I know, means nothing. You know your kid, follow your gut, the internet means well but the one piece they are missing is Ezra. He is an individual, you are simply treating him as such by giving him his own space and time to come into himself. I have noticed that the second I relax about something I'm worried about with my daughter is right about the time she does whatever it is I was worried about...Us first time Mamas have got to band together especially when we believe that ultimately our Children are in God's hands and so are we...not the most popular mindset in the internet-world of advice!

L.A. Daddy said...

Eh, I didn't talk until I was about 9 years old. I could, I just didn't want to. And... I wanted to freak my mom out.

Emery Jo -- you must chill.

Everyone does things at their own pace. And sometimes kids are lazy. If you bring everything to them, why should they walk? We had this problem a bit with L.A. Toddler. We knew she could talk but relied on her sign language to get more food and such. We told her to "use your words" and kept saying the word out loud.

And now, she's singing Broadway Tunes! Oy.

Flo Oakes said...

I'm a strong believer in following your gut. I LOVE the parenting series by Dr. Sears, because all the advice he really gives is, "Follow your instinct!"
I gave up taking the kids to the pediatrician for well baby check ups for a lot of reasons, one of them being that even the pediatrician said that *I* Would be the one who would really notice something wrong, and that he found the gut instinct of mothers to be pretty accurate. (I had no reason to take the kids to have themselves weighed and measured when I could see plain as plain that they were growing) So I say trust the instinct, and the obviously well adjusted happy little guy that God gave ya.

Anonymous said...

In the past you have blogged about Ezra's ear infections. Does he get them alot? My son, who is now grown,was always getting ear infections as a baby and toddler. By the time he was 3 years old we still could not understand a word he said. I was so worried and spoke to his preschool teacher about it. She suggested that we take him to an audiologist to have his hearing evaluated. Low and behold, my little boy's ears were filled with fluid. He was hearing things as if his ears were filled with cotton! No wonder he was having trouble forming his words. He had to have tubes put in and once the fluid was drained his speech improved. You might think about having Ezra's hearing checked by a specialist. Not just his pediatrician. If his hearing checks out perfect then you know that his speech is just on his own time table and you can relax. If it turns out that fluid in his ears is interfering with what he hears then you can take care of that too and you will have a reason why his speech is delayed. I hope this helps.

Britt said...

Thanks for sharing this experience, Emery. It's nice to read thought from someone who's just a little further into this parenting thing than I am. It gives me an idea of what might pop up and surprise me in the next couple of years.

I bet Ezra is going to be just fine, but that audiologist suggestion might be worth looking into.

Misguided Mommy said...

yup I had tubes in my ears when I was little too. then one day they just went away or something...hmmm wonder where they went

Emery Jo said...

This is all so so very good for me to hear. I'm thinking that maybe I should get his ears checked- he's only had an ear infection once (that I know of), but maybe there is something in his ears that is making it hard for him to hear. Now that i think of it, The last time I took him to the doc, they had to flush out one of his ears because there was so much wax buildup that he couldn't even see down in there to check for the infection. hmm..

Megan said...

Emery - that "Anon" comment about the audiologist? That was my sweet Mom, who reads your blog every day from Southern California. She didn't identify herself, but I just know it's her. :) She's a nurse, and a darn good one, and Mom to 5 kids...and that story she told you is about my now 24-year-old brother. I would take her word for it! :) She's got lots of experience under her belt. I'm sure Ezra's just fine, but she's right - you have nothing to lose. Good luck!


Archer doesn't talk either. They have the same Babble-language! And the same number of words. I'm going to give him a few more months (he was about five months late crawling AND walking so I figure...) xo!

Karen McCaskill said...

I struggle so much trying to get Noah to keep up with those annoying charts and I swear he knows I am doing it and fights me just for fun. I don't know if Ezra is anything like Noah but I will work and work and work with him on something and then magically he will just decide to go ahead and become a pro at it in one day. Its true, every kid is different, but someimes I think God challenges us with these things to know that HE is in control, not the charts or the internet. You are so right in trusting God with this and waiting it out but if you want to get him checked out, there is no harm in that either. We are first time moms and its totally ok to freak out a little over this stuff. :) Thanks for your blog, you have an amazing gift and I am so glad you share it!