Tuesday, August 7, 2012

rhys' speech

I don't think I've said much on our blog about Rhys' speech, so I thought I'd do that really quick.

When Rhys was a baby, I'm pretty sure she babbled like normal.  I remember when she was 8-10 months old-ish, and I was rocking her to sleep.  I called for Emma "Emma!" and Rhys copied me by saying, "Emma!".  Then I said, "Come here, please!" and Rhys copied that too.  It wasn't perfect, but it was obvious she was copying me.

Then when she got a little older, she started teething more and was really fussy.  Pain medication wasn't something we could give her because it seemed to keep her awake.  Whenever we gave it to her, she would be awake for 3-5 hours afterwards.  This meant that at midnight, she'd sometimes stay awake until 5am once we gave her the pain meds.  So, with teething, she got her pacifier ALL the time since it offered a comfort to her (and, she had weaned herself since I was pregnant by then).

Then we started packing and fixing up our old house to move.  We were busy a lot, and to keep her content, she got her pacifier more than we normally would have let her have it.  She had it pretty much all the time.

When Ella was about 6-7 months old, we noticed she was able to make more sounds than Rhys could, who was about 21-22 months old.  Ella would babble and make lots of consonant sounds.  Rhys just grunted or said, "ahhhh" with no letter sounds, beyond vowels, in there.  The only word she would say was "momma" or "mommy".  I know kids learn to speak whenever they do.  And, I'm usually the last one to get worried.  But when she's not making any consonant sounds, I felt concerned.  It was a strange change to go from making lots of sounds to not making any.

Her comprehension level is great.  She understands pretty much everything we say.  If we ask her questions, she can point and answer that way.  She shows no lack of intelligence (she seems above average intelligence, but what mother doesn't think that of their child?!).  So her intelligence is not at all in question.

I checked around with other parents.  I was worried that Rhys was being hindered by the pacifier being in her mouth all the time.  People told me that they had no problems with their kids on pacifiers, and they didn't think that was the problem.  We decided to go ahead and restrict pacifier use to sleeping times only.  When she got out of bed, the pacifiers stayed there.

I also did some reading and found out that kids who have the cord wrapped around their neck have a higher incidence of having speech delays.  They have no reason for it, just that it statistically appears to be that way (of course, not all kids have this problem who have cord issues).  Rhys had a knot in her cord, a short cord, and it was wrapped around her neck.  (Our doctor said God was watching over her by causing her to have a complete placenta previa, requiring a c-section, because she wouldn't have made it out okay with all those problems otherwise.)

Once we restricted the pacifiers, we noticed fairly quickly that she started using some new sounds and even some new little words.  It started off mostly with the word "ice" because she loves ice and always wants it in her cup.

When she could only say a few words, I remember being in the kitchen with her, and she tossed out some three-word sentence.  I wish I could remember what it was.  But, I thought, "Whoa!  Where did that come from?!  She's learning to talk!" and then we haven't heard it again. 

Now she can say "ice, eye, emma, ella, uh-huh, uh-uh, ball, baby" and probably a few more words that I'm not thinking of.  She finally said "daddy" a little while after she turned two years old (she'll be 26 months in a week or so). But, overall, she can't say a lot of words for her age.  She does make a lot more sounds, though.  I do speech with Emma, and so we've been doing speech with Rhys.  We make it a game to make sounds.  Everyone else joins in when we do it, which is often at the dinner table.  She does really good with it.

But overall, she does not verbally communicate with us.  I definitely look forward to the day that she does!  We have considered speech therapy, but our doctor said we can do what we want for now.  It might just take her a little while longer.  So, she let us decide what to do.  With needing to be careful for Emma's health, we decided to give Rhys a little more time, working with her ourselves (I actually have a whole speech therapy course that I bought that teaches quite a bit about it.  I'm doing what a speech therapist would do, what I saw them do when Emma had speech therapy.  It's called "Straight Talk".).

Then yesterday, out of the blue, she pops out "I got a drink" or "I just got a drink", I can't remember.  I was busy doing something, and I didn't process what she said until she said it again.  Then it was like a slow motion double take of "WHAAAAAAAAT DID YOU JUST SAY?!!  HOW ARE YOU SPEAKING IN SENTENCES?!!"

I kind of freaked out, similar to how I did when she cut her hair off.  I used the shrilly, crazy sounding voice.  "Did you just say "I just got a drink"?!  You can talk?!"  She told me no, and then smiled a sweet little smile.  And, I looked at what she had just sat down, and it was her water bottle.  Then I freaked out more, "I can't believe you just said that!  Good job, Rhys!  That is so fun you said that!  Did you just get a drink?!"  and went on like that for probably far too long.  She acted like I wasn't speaking.  She would watch me as though I was just sitting there doing nothing, except she'd crack a smile sometimes, in between telling me no.  haha.

She hasn't done it since.  We're nearing 24-hours.  Part of me wonders if I'm insane and just made it up.  But I know she said it!  I'm beginning to think this little Rhys isn't quite as delayed with speech as I thought.  If she can pop out a sentence like that, I think she's biding her time until she can speak as well as an adult before speaking.  Because I'm not sure why else she's biding her time because that was pretty good for a two year old.

I've always known her brain could understand and think things much better than she could express.  But now I look at her a little more suspiciously.  Can she really express these things verbally?  If she can, she won't on command.  So, we'll just keep waiting...  But, for some reason, it's changed how I talk to her.  I talk to her more like I do with my older kids.  And, she seems to quite like it.

So, my conclusion is, Rhys is a freak.  I think she's playing mind games with us.  And she makes me proud!  I love that little girl.


  1. I'm not a doctor or expert or anything -- just a mom of four kids. Could the problem be having three older siblings? My second child didn't say anything until well past 2-years old, because his older sister did all the talking!

  2. My youngest sound like your Rhys and do I could relate all through you post. And btw I was cracking up about the planking post. I think I might try it at some opportune time. Anyways I am still waiting for those sentences that make me think I must've lost my mind. :) Cheryl

  3. Love your pictures! You have captured some great moments that you'll treasure forever! Sounds as though you are very concerned with Rhys' speech. I noticed you mentioned it in a few posts. A mother knows her children better than anyone. I'm not a doctor -- and a lot of times, as the poster above mentioned older siblings speak for younger siblings. I would err on the side of caution and have her evacuated by a Speech Language Pathologist. If only for your peace of mind. I've attached a link from the ASHA website on speech milestones. Good Luck to you! You have a beautiful family!!