Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Not the Talking Kind

Last week I had Lydia's first parent conference at daycare. I signed up not knowing exactly why I needed a parent conference, but felt it was the responsible thing to do. I arrived at the conference prepared with some questions, and I wasn't sure what to expect.

Here were my questions:

--How is Lydia's interaction with the other kids? We don't see her with other children very often, so I was curious.

--What can we do to encourage Lydia's verbal development? Lydia was a late crawler, and at the time, she seemed to be focused on verbal skills. Now the tables have turned. She is cruising everywhere, taking a few steps independently without encouragement, and today, she went DOWN the stairs (with me close behind, of course. My friend, Elise, who is the oldest of eight and a Nurse Practitioner, assured me that this was an important skill to learn for purposes of safety, so I was really excited about it.)

--What should we expect in terms of preparations to transition to the next "room" at the center? Which room will she go to, what will be the main differences, etc.

The easiest question was the last. Lydia will most likely move to T2, and among other things, she will take naps on a mat rather than in a swing or crib. This is simultaneously hilarious and baffling to me. How will they get her to nap on a mat? This move will happen in August, so the other important milestone for the move isn't a big deal: she needs to be walking, which technically she already is, though she doesn't choose to employ the skill very often.

The other two, well... I kind of wish I hadn't asked. Apparently, Lydia is a daycare loner. She doesn't like other babies in her space. My connotation with "loner" involves sitting in a corner with one's back to everyone, slowly banging one's head against the wall. Not the happiest picture of my child.

When I asked about verbal skills, the teacher asked if I had had Lydia's hearing checked. Seriously. Now, I have been on a serious Googling and index-searching frenzy about Lydia's lack of words for the past few weeks, and the suggestion to have her hearing tested really threw me. I was moreso fishing for an "It's okay, she has enough words now to stave off any concern," but no. For the record, Lydia says "Daddy" and "dog" consistently, and she has imitated a few more words on rare occasion (done, Stanley, and this morning, tickle). **Note the absence of "Mama." Not that I'm upset.**

The frustrating thing with her lack of words is that we're doing everything we're supposed to. We talk to her. We read her books. Everything that has been suggested in my googling frenzy, we're already doing! Lydia dances to music, signs the appropriate signs that she knows to the appropriate word when we say it, and has learned to identify where her feet and tummy are, as well as my nose. (Her nose is still a mystery to her. I'm pretty sure her hearing is fine.

Okay internets, now is your chance. Tell me I don't have to be worried. I have come to the conclusion that if Lydia is a loner, it is only at daycare, especially after watching her with Aidan this past Sunday. The hearing/verbal thing, though--give me some comfort!!!


  1. I waited a LONG time to talk. I basically never said anything for a long time. My uncle was convinced that I knew how to talk and just wasn't doing it. He took me in a room and had a chat with me and when I came out, I was talking up a storm. Today I am an extreme extrovert, so there's that.

  2. Oh my gosh, I know how you feel about wishing you hadn't asked questions. :(

    Two words for a 13-month-old sounds right on track, and from what I've heard, UNDERSTANDING words at this age is way more important than saying them. Plus, I assume she points, gestures, etc? Doesn't sound to me like she's behind at all. Please don't let one teacher's comment concern you. Lydia is doing great!

  3. Oh yeah, and I have to say thank you for sharing that you are a concerned mama. Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one who goes on googling frenzies about baby milestones. My husband literally threw my "what to expect the first year" book in the trash (it was a symbolic move - I fished it out) a few months ago.

  4. I don't like that teacher. Sorry but I don't. Lydia hears great - she responds to her name, she understands lots of words, and she babbles with inflection (I've heard her numerous times speak tons of babble sentences where her tone rises and falls like she's actually talking). She is totally focused on this walking thing right now. Everything I've ever read says it's normal for a kiddo to become "obsessed" with a certain developmental milestone and leave the others aside for a bit. The pendulum will shift again soon and she'll be adding words left and right to her vocabulary. (Although I gotta say I think her vocab and, more importantly, comprehension are pretty impressive already.) Oliver only has two real words and a sound for cat and I'm telling myself that's perfect. (He also still hasn't said Mama and meant it... little stinker).

    As for the "loner" thing, I bet Lydia just doesn't find her classmates intellectually stimulating enough. Heck, sometimes I think I fall below that mark for Miss Lydia. She's crazy smart.

  5. I'm here to tell you, she's a "thinker". Don't they always say you should think before you speak?!

    Gramma Mree

  6. Like Lydia, I'm a big fan of Stanley too.

  7. Yes to everything everyone else said! If she's responding and babbling, her hearing is fine! From my personal observations with my own kids, they work on one skill at a time. When they're working on motor skills, verbal takes a back seat and vice versa. As for her not being social - one year olds generally aren't doing anything with other kids. Side by side play at best. This will go on for quite a while. A wonderful publication that has been around since you and Robin were babies, and maybe before, is Growing Child. (http://growingchild.com/GrowingChild.html) They send you a monthly newsletter about what to expect in the coming months, etc. Oh, and I wish I had a tape of how Robin used to say words. I babysat for him for a few days when Mree and Dale moved into their first house. He was just shy of 2 years old and understood everything but his words were a little "strange". The one I remember most was how he said "orange". I went something like this - "thptttdzft" (insert spit here!). He knew the color and always said it the same way for the right word, but unless you were told you wouldn't have a clue that he was saying anything. Look at him now!

    Great Aunt Treesuh

  8. Ummmm...she's only a year old. I think a couple of words here and there is completely normal. (That's what the teacher should have said to in my opinion). :)

    She grunts and points just like her Uncle Markus, when did he talk? I predict she'll follow the same path.

    Maybe...this is just a suggestion...be careful of how often she has a pacifier in her mouth.


  9. Really----I never thought every child should mature according to the calender---Lydia is just fine -----please let her do her thing when she is good and ready ! ! Remember what I told you in our conversation last month-she understands what you say and why should she talk when life is going so well. We love her just the way she is----remember Becky called me NamaGigi for a long time----Love you much-

  10. I echo all of the above! I nannied for a whip smart little girl in Chicago who was a verbal "late bloomer" and it didn't end up meaning a darn thing as she matured. Don't stress about this! (And tell me the same thing in a year when I need some parental reassurance, pretty please) :)

  11. 1. Drew's teachers report that if he's having a "quiet" day or is feeling tired or fussy, he scoots off to a quiet place by himself to play, "sing," or just be. He seems to prefer being alone on most days. His teacher shared that this is an important coping skill. Knowing when you want to be alone and how to do it can help a baby cope with a sometimes hectic daycare environment. His teacher (who has a master's in early childhood ed and 30+ years of experience) said that she sees more issues with the children who DON'T know how to take a little "me time." (FWIW, I also have a theory that this is a first/only child thing, especially for a baby who didn't start day care until 5-6 months and got used to a quiet house.)

    2. "Can you get her hearing checked?" I see the comment about Lydia's hearing to be a defense tactic from a teacher who's not sure how to help. Something like, "I'm partially responsible for her development, and I'm not seeing the results I want, so there MUST be a health problem, because it can't be me." Just my two cents.

    3. Drew is a poster child for the crazy, unpredictable nature of development milestones. He's very far behind on movement milestones but slightly ahead with verbal milestones. I have every confidence that Drew will hit his movement milestones and Lydia will hit her speech milestones. We just have to do our best, give up our illusions of control, and let our babies be the bosses. You said it yourself--you're doing everything right!

    NEVER ignore your instincts. I think your instincts are telling you that you and Robin are doing a great job and that Lydia is thriving. Listen!

  12. I kindly refer you to the BELLY LAUGH video.
    Lydia The Wonderful is babbling and reacting
    to sounds as well as to Robin talking to her.
    She is a super duper baby-do not worry Laurie.

  13. First of all, I don't read your blog regularly, and I've obviously never met Lydia (so I'm not super familiar with her temperament & development). That said, I agree with Kels- trust your instincts. If you feel she's basically on track, I wouldn't be concerned. On the other hand, I don't see the harm in getting her hearing checked if that would make you feel better. As far as her being a daycare "loner," 1 year olds don't really play with each other. Don't worry.

  14. Every baby is different and hits those milestones at his or her own pace. My son likes to wait as LONG as possible to hit a developmental milestone -- just as long as it takes me to REALLY start to panic -- and then BLAMMO! He's there. He didn't walk didn't walk didn't walk didn't walk, then I started freaking out and BLAMMO! He walked. And within like a week he was running. Same with talking. Took FOREVER and as soon as I started to think there was something really wrong -- BLAMMO! Can't shut him up.

    So, worry not. She'll get there when she feels like it. And torture you horribly in the process. Welcome to motherhood!

  15. You and Robin are brilliant parents and Lydia is wonderfully, brilliant little girl. She is ahead of the game on many levels...the talking will happen when she is ready. Don't worry about it. Do you remember the little boy next door who made complete sentences in babbling sounds for quite a few years? Not that you want to compare Lydia to the little boy...but...he went on to talk in a very understandable fashion. Oh,yes, and the little grunter in our family who was able to do so well that he didn't need to talk until he deemed it was necessary. "Little boy" is exemplary in his communication skills. In other words, dear daughter of mine, Lydia will be talking when she decides to talk...enjoy her and don't loose another minute worrying about it.