I took Rueben for his (really late) 12 month immunization shot this past week. He's almost 18 months old now, so he was long overdue. While in the office, the nurse administering the shots had a few questions for me concerning his development... does he let me brush his teeth, does he 'help' to put his clothes on (putting his arms up, lifting his legs...), can he crouch to pick up a toy without falling over... check, check, check. Then she asked me if he could say 5 words meaningfully, but not necessarily properly pronounced. I though for a minute, and sighed as I realised Rueben wasn't saying any words meaningfully. Ethan was with us in the office and she asked if he has a word for Ethan... nope. "Can you point to a picture in a book and elicit a response?"... no. Then I got bombarded with a barrage of pamphlets and papers on speech and hearing clinics. How can my child have speech problems when I can use alliteration and fancy words like bombard and barrage and his 4(ish) year old brother says things like "that's very interesting". I mean, really?
The heat we've been having these past few days has been driving me crazy. I'm normally a hot person anyway, so for me, these temperatures are verging on unbearable. So in a moment of brilliance, I scooped up the boys and we piled into the air conditioned truck for a quick visit to Starbucks. All of a sudden, as we're driving along, I hear from the backseat "puh-peh", just as we're driving past the Clayton off leash dog park. He said a word! He said a word.... wait, I think I've heard him say those sounds before. He likes to throw things out the (low) kitchen window onto the balcony which happens to look out into the backyard, and I've seen him standing there saying puhpeh puhpeh. Why have I never realised the connection between those sounds and the two little yappy dogs who belong to our new basement tenants? Why have I been so literal in my thinking that 'words' need to be words. Of course Rueben talks... he says 'gha oo' when I give him a cup of milk, he says 'boom' when he falls down, he says 'ahmee' when he looks for my bellybutton.
I guess I just need to change my thinking about talking. And maybe I need to listen a little more intently to Rueben's sweet nothings.