Well, we may not be up to conjunctions and grammar yet, but I would be remiss as a mother if I didn't mention the huge strides that my kids have been making in the speech/language development department. Especially the girls, as has been the trend, of course.
On March 2nd, Ellie was in the hospital (as many of you may recall) and I was talking to a nurse or doctor and Ellie (who had been refusing food most of the time she was in the hospital) was standing in her crib reaching out toward the bedside table where there was a sleeve of Ritz Crackers (one of her favorite snacks) saying "Cacka! Cacka!" She said it in such a soft, sweet little voice that it took a couple minutes for me to realize what was going on.
"Oh my goodness! You want a Cracker! You can have all the crackers you want, little girl!"
And she did gobble down those crackers, like a ravenous little fiend. She knew what she wanted, and she clearly communicated it. And thus, a first word was born.
Well, that's not really fair. I'd posted before that she had said "mama" before. And it's true, she had. But just as quickly as she started saying Mama, she stopped (a few days later). And she hasn't said it since. It took Ellie a long time to say anything other than cracker, in fact.
But Ellie does now have a nice little array of words - "Cracker", "Cup", "Up", "Abba" (meaning "father" in Hebrew - though I'm not sure she really knows what that one means, she does seem to use that one rather randomly), "Ball", and um, that might be it. I'm sure Seth will let me know if I'm missing any.
In April, Abby started to follow suit. The difference between Abby and Ellie, though, is that Ellie speaks extemporaneously - if there's something she wants she says the word (assuming she knows the word). But she never imitates sounds just for the sake of imitating sounds. She's not a mynah bird the way a lot of children are when they first start talking. Abby's first clear words, however, were obviously imitation, though, as you'll see...
Each day, when I walk in the door, the triplets are usually playing in the sunroom with SuperNanny. When I walk in, I am generally accosted by three loving babies who are eager for a hug, a kiss, or (most importantly) my cell phone or car keys. I always exclaim "Hi Babies!" One day in April, Abby whispered (with a devilish little grin on her face), "Hi Babies" after I greeted them.
Wait, what? Did she just say what I think she just said?
"Hi Babies!" I said again.
"Hi Babies!" she whispered with a grin.
Whoa. Seriously? That's your first word(s)? Neat!
So Abby imitates, but for a long time would not say anything extemporaneously.
Ellie started doing this thing where every time she had a ball she would throw it up in the air while saying "Up!" (something her speech therapist taught her) and Abby started imitating that. But now Abby will casually say "Up" whenever she sees a ball. Once Abby said Piglet (but that was, again, imitating us calling Piglet by his name).
The girls are definitely improving on receptive language skills as well. They will point to their noses (or mine) if I ask where their nose is. Abby will point out Piglet's nose as well. They will follow very, very simple instructions ("bring that to mommy!"). And Abby (and to a certain extent Ellie as well) is very receptive to the emotional needs of her siblings - if they are upset, she will bring them their loveys.
Sam? Well, Sam's not talking. But he lets us know what he needs. He's taken to SHRIEKING (make that SCREAMING) in the middle of the night if he wakes up and discovers that his pacifier is missing. This is a new and definitely undesirable behaviour, as far as I'm concerned. Gah. If he wants to be picked up, he'll stand there with his arms raised grunting. No question what he wants. But if you want him to follow a simple instruction, you must use far more visual cues with him than the girls need. The girls still need more visual cues than other kids their age, but Sam needs visual cues for virtually all instructions. Still, he has definitely made progress - it used to be that he couldn't follow an instruction even with a visual cue. And he is now responding to his name (he turns his head) and will stop what he's doing if you say, "No, Sam!" in a stern voice. Whether it's the words or the inflection he is understanding, I'm not sure, but either way, it is progress.
We are still getting their hearing checked on May 20th, because they are still behind on receptive and expressive language, and while no one believes there's anything wrong with their hearing, it's a good rule-it-out step and it is non-invasive. So we'll have all kinds of fun with that. Umm. Yeah. Something like that.
Some day, I'm sure I'm going to wonder why I ever wanted them to talk. :)
I do remember that at their 18 month appointment, the pediatrician remarked that it was probably a testament to their underlying personalities that they aren't having far more temper tantrums and fits, because with the language delays that they're having and the fact that they are otherwise developmentally on target, this can be very frustrating for them to not be able to communicate their needs. While they DO throw fits, they aren't constant and they are very predictable and generally happen not as a result of communication failures, but as a sign that bedtime/naptime is looming.
Yep, I just have really, really good kids. I'm one lucky mom.