The boy has always had amazing language skills. I remember when we’d go to his well child visits and would receive a sheet of paper with his expected language milestones, all of which he had achieved months prior. I thought, rather uncharitably, that the milestones were for the dumb kids.
Things were a bit different with the girl. We’d go to the same well child visits, look at the sheets, and she’d have maybe one or two of them achieved, and just barely at that. I know you’re not supposed to compare children, but it’s sort of hard not to.
Denver has a city program for early evaluation and intervention for any delay, and I figured it couldn’t hurt to have the girl evaluated. We sat on the ground with a bunch of toys, books, and puzzles, and two delightful women engaged the girl in a series of tasks. During each one, the women would nod vigorously and beam at the girl, who was at her charming best. At the end of it, they looked at me and said, “She’s not behind at all! She’s actually about 15% ahead of her age.”
Um..okay…I’ll just…walk away now…I’m not an overacheiving parent…no…not at all…
The funny thing is, I just went to find a video of the boy speaking at her age and you know what I found? They use exactly the same number of words. The only difference is that the boy’s speech was much clearer.
The therapists did note this, especially that the girl tends to skip letters and drop the end off of words. They encouraged me to enunciate and repeat sounds back to the girl to improve her pronunciation. For example, if I show her a picture of a dog, and she says, “Daw!” I’m supposed to say, “Right! Dog! Do-Guh-Guh-Guh,” emphasizing the “g” sound.
I went over this at dinner that night, and the boy listened to every word.
This morning at breakfast, Eric asked the boy what music he wanted to listen to.
“Wilco!” he replied.
“Wacko!” parroted the girl.
The boy turned to his sister, “Wuh-Wuh-Wuh-il-il-il-ko-ko-ko.”
“Wacko!” said the girl.
He kept repeating the appropriate diction of “Wilco” until she more or less got it right. “Wuhlco!” she finally blurted out.
With such a talented speech therapist in the house, I’m sure she’ll be speaking clearly in no time!