McBean is ahead of the 8-ball in many ways. His physical development is ahead of his age, by as much as 6 months in some respects. And he’s also a smart boy in many respects, I can see him watching things and trying to see how they work, I’ve observed him problem solving, he is adept at puzzles when he wants to be. I don’t think he’s lacking in the brain department.
Of coursed, I’m a little biased being his parent, and while I am not impartial I don’t think that my assessment is too far off the mark.
The one area in which he is notably under developed is speech. This is something that worries Clark a great deal, and me also to a certain extent, but not as much as Clark (FenFox had hearing issues as a baby). According to many of the guidelines he should have a vocabulary of somewhere in the vicinity of 50 words, should be able to name parts of the body, and use me and you and words like that in context, use his own name and also mama and baba etc. Now I am well aware that these are guidelines and not something to get too hung up on. But he is well behind in any of this, and also lagging behind the children in our acquaintance (mother’s group etc), even children a few months younger than him.
Verbally he has almost no consistent words. He can, if he wants to, use words that are somewhat distinguishable as cat, car, poo and baba – but he is not likely to. He can, on occasion, mimic some words that are said to him – but again there is no consistency and I’m not sure that some of it is not completely coincidental. When referring to animals, he will more often than not use the sound the animal makes rather than the word – he makes a hissing sound for cats (because we read a lot of Hairy Maclary stories and Scarface Claw does a lot of hissing, and also our cat Leonard does a lot of hissing in McBean’s presence), and he makes a woo woo noise for dogs. And pretty much any other four legged animal. Again, when he wants to, he can moo for a cow, but he is more likely to fall back on the woo woo.
He has several recognisable signs, which again he uses when he wants to. He can sign milk, food/eat, finished, water/drink, more, please, and bath/swimming. He has also developed a couple of his own signs for things, such as bubbles, and unzip (for his sleep sack in the mornings). He can even put two signs together for a rudimentary sentence such as more please. He can also use many gestures with great efficacy, such as pointing and shaking his head, throwing his hands in the air for I don’t know, and waving. He is often able to make himself very clearly understood with a minimum of effort.
But he makes little effort to verbalise any of his communication.
This is something that crops up again and again between Clark and I, wondering if there’s an issue and what we should do about it. The MCH nurse was once again less than helpful at his 18 month check up and jabs – it’s like she’s living in the middle of the last century, honestly, and she’s just not that old. Her theory was that was should stop responding to his needs until he starts verbalising them. Needless to say both Clark and I smiled and nodded at her and went no damn way are we doing that in our heads.
So our latest decision was to wait until he is two, and if he doesn’t seem to be improving then take him to a paediatrician and get it investigated. Knowing McBean, contrary little bugger that he is, he’ll wait until just after we’ve started the process of following up and then begin speaking perfectly. He already has perfect timing and can say things to generate maximum impact. Yesterday Clark was having a sleep in, and McBean decided he wanted to go and have a snuggle with her in bed, so he said “Mama” very clearly and deliberately, and proceeded to get what he wanted. Cheeky little monkey, he’s messing with us I swear.