At Edward and Elizabeth's 15-month check-up, the pediatrician was concerned about Elizabeth's speech: she was saying "da" for "clap" and "da-da" for both Daddy and Mommy, and that was about it. He said that if she didn't make dramatic improvements by her 18-month check, he was going to refer her for speech therapy. (Edward's speech is at exactly the same point, but apparently it's normal for girls to be significantly ahead of boys in speech development, so while Edward is still within normal range, Elizabeth is well behind what the doctor would expect.)
My oldest son had speech therapy from age 2-1/2 until age 5, for an articulation delay. Here is what I noticed: one, that it was a hassle to have to bring him to therapy each week; two, that it made no discernable improvement in his speech; three, that once we were in the system, it was hard to get out. I am glad to have that system in place if Elizabeth really does need it, but I see her making steady--if slow--progress, and I don't see any reason to worry about her speech: some kids speak earlier than others, that's all. Practically everyone has a family story about some child who didn't speak until age 3, and then spoke in complete sentences. Elizabeth isn't going to be like that, but what I mean is that I think she's just slow to speak, and not in need of intervention at this point.
So in the two months since the 15-month check-up, I have been plotting to mislead the pediatrician. When he says, at the 18-month check, "So, is she talking?," my plan is to say, "Oh, YES. She says 'shoe' and 'sock' and 'yes' and 'hair' and 'eye' and 'cat' and 'thank you' and 'here you go' and 'Maisy' and 'book.'" I won't spell out that she says about half of those as "da" or "da-da," and the others as "szs" and "heh" and "ah." I'll just let the pediatrician assume that I mean she says the words clearly. Not LYING, you see, just misleading.
The problem is that I have a hard time misleading this doctor. He asks a question, and I answer it, and then he continues to listen even after I've stopped talking: he looks at me and waits, thinking about what I've said and also seeing if I have anything else to say. This approach flusters me. I think I'm more than half likely to blurt out into the silence, "Of course, half of those are 'da' or 'da-da'!," and then laugh nervously. Sigh.
Life-improving products, part 4 - (Continued from part 1, part 2, and part 3.) Stearns Youth Life Vest (photo from Amazon.com). I’d been too scared to take the kids to any body of water oth...