Just over a week ago I met up with a friend who’s little boy is just a few weeks younger than T. I felt quite despondent after seeing her. O was chatting away constantly in baby language and I know from my friend that he has started saying quite a few words. Although T was making lots of sounds, he hadn’t started making sentences of gobbledegook or said any words.
I know everyone says not to compare babies, they all develop at their own pace, but we all do it, don’t we? It’s natural to be proud when we see our precious tiny people developing, or worried if they’re not. We want them to be the same as the other babies, but we’re also secretly pleased when they’re ‘better’ and hit their milestones first, no matter how nonchalant we seem.
Despite reassurances from two health visitors, I was getting concerned that his language skills were falling behind his peers. I’d obviously asked Dr Google about it too. I was reassured to discover that he wasn’t showing any of the typical signs of autism, but I was still worried that he was going to be speech delayed.
I felt like I’d failed him. It must be my fault he hadn’t started speaking yet. Maybe I wasn’t talking to him as much as I should. Was a delay in speech going to affect his social skills? Would he ever be able to make friends?
The day after I met up with my friend T started babbling away in sentences. He hasn’t stopped since. He also said his first word, ‘pop,’ which sounds more like ‘bop.’ He says it when the toaster pops or when we’re singing ‘pop goes the weasel.’ He also says ‘ba’ for ‘bump’ or ‘bang’ sometimes. His Mama’s and Dada’s seem to be more in context now too, although I wouldn’t say he’s quite mastered those words yet.
So I’m really glad I spent all that time and energy comparing him to his little friends. Blaming myself for my perceived failings as a parent. Imagining the worst case scenario. Not a waste of time at all. Muppet.