The talking and the words

Now that Ike is trach-less and learning to be very vocal, we are THRILLED at the language he is picking up everyday.

When he still had the trach, he was just starting with a few "ow"s and "ugh"s and "ew"s- a great onomatopoeic vocabulary very fitting not just for the mechanics of a trach but for life with a trach as well.

But now, just barely three months after having his trachea reconstructed, he's throwing out big guns like, "elbow" and "elmo" and "Yah-Yah" (which is Ike-speak for our dog, Tucker, and also works nicely for "Georgia" in a pinch.)

He says "bubble" and "ball" and "mom" and "dad" and "up" and "yeah" and "go" and has a few strings of words that are both signed and spoken. He will sign, "Tucker food," but won't say it yet. And he'll sign "Mama help," while he shouts "Up! Up!" at me.

Today, though, he said his first two word string. He was jostling with his sister for a toy and he yelled out "I WANT!" I thought I'd been hearing him say this for a couple of days, but it hasn't been very clear. This afternoon, though, it was perfectly clear. And repeated. "I WANT! I WANT!"

Maybe not the classiest first string of words to have, but I'm cool with them. There are a lot of things I want, too!

Now the trick will be teaching him "please." He can sign it, but will he say it?

His speech therapist said our goal is to have three new words a month. Right now he's averaging about three words a week. I don't know if he'll keep this pace up, but I'm loving it. In just a couple of months he's gone from having the language skills of a 10-12 month old, to being MUCH closer to typical for his age.

The best part, though, is seeing how proud of himself he gets when he says something new. A little light shines from behind those huge eyes and I just want to take the moment and freeze it and store it in my heart and never forget.

I do a lot of complaining about the kids and their messes and their yelling and fighting, but everyday has a moment I want to tuck away and save for a quiet time when I need something joyful to celebrate.

We have a macabre joke around here about when we get old and trapped in dementia, which moment do we want to be trapped in? This moment right now is a pretty good one, even with the sick and the medical fragility and the no money and the stress and the tired. It has these gilded edges of comfortable beauty that I just want to wrap myself up in. Maybe that's because we've had times like these before that were followed by scary, life-altering times. Or maybe it's because I'm finally learning to pay attention to detail. I don't know. But I can tell you that as hard as it is to have kids aged 8, 4 and 2, it is a gift I celebrate everyday.

Even when the wee-er one is playing drums in the living room.
And the wee one is running the battery down on my iPhone playing Angry Birds.
And Ike-a-saurus is yelling "I WANT I WANT I WANT" at the top of his preemie lungs.

8 thoughts on “The talking and the words

  1. Oh, thanks for posting about that – I’d been wondering how he was doing with talking! It sounds like he’s rapidly joining his peers in terms of language development, and I would bet that if anything he’ll speed up, not slow down. He must already have learned to HEAR soooo many words already over the past few months, so now he’s just got to master the mechanics of getting them out there. What a blast he must be having!


  2. My son had no challenges like Ike’s, but he had an odd habit. He would acquire a word or phrase, demonstrate it to one or two people, and then put in the vault for some future use. No amount of coaxing could get him to repeat his accomplishment for whichever parent had missed it. He knew how to say “juice,” but would stand in front of the fridge and yell “Ah ah,” while pointing. This lasted most of his second year, then all of a sudden he started conversing non-stop, and has continued for the next 25 years (except for his monosyllabic teen years.) I remember the thrill of watching him acquire skills.


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