Sometimes I am the most insecure of women. Especially when it comes to parenting. 

It’s so easy to identify where everyone else is sparkly and functioning, where other children excel and where my child seems to be lazily lagging behind. And it’s got to be my fault, I assume, some dormant genetic flaw, some information I’m lacking, too much television, not enough carrots. 
My primary area of missing confidence in parenting is in my son’s speech. He’s mastered the garbled language from another planet just fine. The problem is none of us can understand it. But he seems to enjoy watching us attempt to teach him this speaking system we appreciate so much.
Around the house, I promote the use of English by holding up an object for him to see, repeating its name, hoping his spongy brain is starving for the information. 

“Book. This is a ‘book’. Can you say ‘book’?” 

He stares at me with squinted eyes, wondering when I’m going to be done making that noise so he can move on with his life. Sometimes though, he repeats the word straightaway, as if that was one of the words that came with his original programming. Or maybe a cognate from his native tongue. Either way, he occasionally zings it out and we make a big deal with clapping and whoops and the works. So I know he can do it. 

Is he slow-er or just defiant? Or something in between? I wonder to myself. But since he doesn’t speak great English, I don’t know.

The other day I held up an orange.  

“Or-ange. OR-ANGE,” I enunciated loudly and firmly. 

“Why-et,” he replied, holding his pointer finger to his mouth. “Ssshhh.” 

This is not going well. But then, I didn’t know he could say “quiet”. Kind of. 

He must know I am craving the inner workings of his mind. I can’t wait to ask him why the sky is blue or what God is thinking about. It’s going to be great. I just want to get there already. 

[photo cred:]

Some of his friends are tiny wordsmiths already, scampering about with really rewarding sayings like, “I love you,” and “You’re silly, Mama.” 

Seriously? What do I need to do to get that from my kid? 

It really does seem like most of his friends traded in their baby planet language for English with ease, and John is the only left, hanging on, refusing to acculturate. 

My pediatrician did nothing to assuage my mommy fears when I confided my concern about his speech. I hesitated when she asked about whether or not he’s up to 25-50 words in English, which was my bad, but I didn’t really know for sure. She proceeded to recommend Infant Toddler Services for his speech. And she wants to see him in six months. Thank you very much, lady-who-does-not-have-any-kids. I feel like a mom-fail. And by the way, what if he was making the quota

So you see, I come by my insecurity honestly. And by honestly, I mean, I apparently still think my son’s success in the world is in direct correlation with my success as a human. So please talk already, John, so I don’t flunk life.
Yesterday I decided to step up my speech pathology game. I didn’t call ITS yet, but I won’t rule it out. I’m sure they would be helpful, but I am still holding out that I can teach him. 

So instead I Googled “help my toddler talk.” I found several great resources, which I am listing here. For anyone who can’t wait to hear their toddler’s inner thinkings and wants to speed up the learning, here are a few ways to help draw it out. I’ll be trying them out, and I’m sure within a few short months, John will start writing my posts for me. 

Help My Toddler This is a blog with tips. There is a learning calendar available for purchase, but the blog has a lot of good ideas.

One thought on “A Slightly Insecure English Teacher

  1. Mommy insecurities are the hardest! I know I struggle wondering if I am teaching my kids the right things or the right way to do/handle things or if they are up to speed with the other toddlers. All I can say, is you know your kid better than anyone else. If you are concerned, then follow up with the Infant Toddler Services. I do know boys tend to develop language skills slower, something I have to remind myself of often as I listen to Andrew's alien speak and one word demands.


Comments are closed.