So, it has been a bit of a rough developmental time here at the Yates house. Amidst all the toddler fun that is occurring , well, the boys have gone pre-verbal and that is shaping up to be one of the bigger challenges we have experiences. I meant to go read up a bit before writing, mind you, I learned all this stuff waaay back in PT school, but I did not. So, as of right now, the boys have words (never counted, but not a whole lot), twin speak or toddlerese…you know, the unique language they seem to develop when they learn they have voices...and screaming.
Screaming, folks. Loud, loud screaming. Of which they can control but choose to use. And not judiciously.
I understand their dilemma. Their comprehension is through the roof, they understand receptive language almost too well. I have had to curb some of my less than stellar phrases and we spell quite a few things in their presence (like O-t-t-e-r P-o-p-s).
The limits of their spoken language, their need to tell us what they want, well, it must be frustrating. I watch as Mason now hesitates when he comes to a truck or bus in his books, wanting to say the right word and knowing ‘car’ will come out. He looks at us and tries, but then perseverates on ‘car’, gets pissed, and then screams. He has a pretty low threshold in the frustration area. That would be directly due to my genetic input. Sorry, Mace.
Owen is different. He does not hesitate at all when it comes to using his repertoire, casually throwing his words, identifying any and all animal as ‘dog’, oblivious to his generalization. But the kid likes to yell, then scream when he gets excited or wants to direct my attention. And that can be a lot of the time.
So, we muddle along. I have found using repetition and modeled conversation does help, at least to save some of my sanity. I usually start the conversation with a
“What do you need, M/O, water, snack, etc…”
“Yes, Mama, please can I have a ….”
“Sure, Mace, just let Mama get it out of the cabinet…etc”
Sounds pretty reasonable, huh? Now back up and read again imagining two screaming banshees screeching at the top of their lungs…yeah, the conversation can sound a little silly then. But it gives me a focus point. When that does not work, we do a ‘Time Out’ for excessive screaming. And not proud to say it, but I have shouted a few times. That really does get their attention, for the moment, anyway.
I do not want to paint it as total bedlam, but the last few weeks have been trying, those few ‘melting’ hours bringing forth a lot of their frustrated vocalizing. There is one thing it has also brought forward. I tend to think a lot during these times, during those moments of calm, about my Self and my parenting. I realize I can trend towards the thought…”If they would just…get through this, have more words, be able to speak, just not, um, scream”. But what that makes me realize is it can cause me to miss that Here and the Now…because they will pass through this and I want to remember it, painful as it may be.
To end on a lighter note, one neat part is deciphering the words they are using. For the last few weeks Owen has been wandering around saying “Abby, abby, abby, abby” at random moments. I tried to figure out what he was associating the word with, looking for objects or actions. Well, last night, Tim and I were watching them bathe, I asked Owen to swim and he laid down, kicking, laughing and saying ‘Abby’. I looked at him and asked him, “Are you saying ‘Happy‘?”. And he turned to me and smiled so big, so wonderfully, so happy, and nodded his head. I died.
(Yeah, I put that barette there? So?)(He is going to kill me someday).
And Mason, though occasionally hesitant to use words with books, has no such compunction during other activities. We have decided his running litany is in French and it sounds really, really interesting. He makes the simplest of actions intriguing, talks to and about his brother a lot, and cocks his head with this inquisitive look that just about kills me. The other day we were doing body parts and I asked him to show me “Mama’s nose” (he usually does his own body parts) and he looked at me like “Why?’.
So, I am trying to remember to embrace moments, breathe deeply and I ask, any advice out there for other strategies, Mamas? Leave it in the comments. Please.
Oh, in this vid if you listen carefully at the beginning, you can hear Owen saying "abby".