Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Fifteen Months

Dear Peeper:

You are fifteen months old today and, once again, I'm afraid I have to start with ". . . and you are sick."


After fighting a cold for most of December, you were healthy for a few weeks, until you got pukey last week, and then just as we were sure we were out of the woods from that - now you have a cold. And, as of a few hours ago, I'm pretty sure I'm coming down with it to.

Double ugh.

But, on to more important things.

Mommy told me a few days ago that she read somewhere that fifteen months is when a baby is "officially" a toddler, and I must agree. You are totally a toddler now.

You walk, you communicate (Although you don't talk. More on that later.), you make up "games," and you are even looking more like a toddler than a baby.

We had your well-baby (well, we thought you were going to be a well-baby) checkup today, and found that, since your twelve-month checkup, you've grown almost two inches - but lost an ounce!

Here are your stats from today:

Length: 29" (10-25th %ile) / Weight: 18 lb 10 oz (3-5th %ile) / Head: 17.5" (50 %ile)

The doctor said he's not concerned about the weight loss, because some of it is probably because you were sick last week (and quite a bit in the previous month), and most of it is probably because you've started walking and burning lots more calories.

(Hmmm, maybe there's a lesson to be learned here.)

He pointed out on the growth chart how you started around the 5th percentile, and then "Well, I don't want to say 'chunked up' because she's so small but, well, chunked up," from nine to twelve months, probably in preparation for this height grown spurt, and now you're back in that weight percentile where you've been since, well, at least since 17 weeks gestation.

He said that he expects to see, when we go back at eighteen months, that you've continued to grow along that same fifth-ish percentile line.

He also said that your lungs sound good and ears look good, so this cold is (so far) just in your nose, which is good to know. I hope it stays up there, and then goes away very quickly.

I reported our findings on the cause of your red butt - it does seem that it's the soy milk. So, no more of that for Mama, which is fine by me - I was only drinking it because I thought it was better for you than cow's milk in my coffee. Your booty just can't win for losing, can it?!

We asked the doctor what's up with your skin being so dry all of a sudden, and he said it's just a winter thing, and recommended the same lotion that Mommy had already bought (Good job, Mommy!) and said to "soak and seal" you by putting it on after your bath, without drying you off completely, so I started that regimen tonight.

Actually, I don't know how long Mommy's been putting it on you already, but I noticed that you seem to be smoother than you were for a while there. Good job, some more, Mommy!

The doctor also confirmed that you've got some serious molar action going on, and said that it's not that unusual for those to come in before the bottom lateral incisors (which you have no signs of). We told him about how you brush your teeth (and we help) and he seemed pleased with that.

The other big thing that we discussed with the doctor is your speech. Or, more accurately, your lack of speech.

All along, starting with the cooing stage, you've been hitting your speech milestones at the very end of the "normal" range - or even a bit beyond that. (Or just barely within it, for your adjusted age.)

All the more reason that we wanted to sign with you, so that you'd have that tool to communicate and avoid frustration, especially if it's going to take you a little longer than the average baby bear to get your words.

I know that we shouldn't compare you to other babies (Because really, what other baby can compare to you?) but as it's started looking like every baby that we know is talking more than you - even ones who are younger - I've started to get a little concerned.

I'm not at all concerned about your intelligence, or your overall language processing skills, because your receptive vocabulary is great (you understand what we are saying) and you're doing so well with your signing, but I do wonder if there's any "thing" going on with your actual speech itself, and whether there's anything we should be doing to help you with it.

At this point, you are just starting (like in the past week) to mimic some non-verbal sounds that we make - like my "ay-yi-yi!" in the video the other day, or when I opened your diaper and saw a huge poopy and said, "Aahh!" - but only spontaneously; not if we tell you, "Say 'lalala'" or something like that.

Most of your verbalization is still repetitive syllables (mamamama or bababa, for example) and squeals, and such.

I don't think you're really doing "jargon" yet, which is stringing together syllables with inflection, so that it sounds like it ought to make perfect sense - in another language, maybe.

The only actual "word" that I'm comfortable giving you credit for is "Mama/Mommy" - which is sometimes a very clear "Mama" but more often "mamamama" or "mumumumum."

Often, it's very clear that you are using that to refer to me or Mommy - but you also just babble it randomly.

You use "Mama" and "Mum-mum" interchangably for both of us (and the dogs, or a cracker, or a toy. . . ) but if we ask you "Where's Mommy" or tell you to "Give it to Mama," you know which name goes with with of us.

Which is pretty damn impressive, I think, since we still screw it up pretty often.

The doctor said that at your age, having just a word or two is within the normal range, especially since your receptive language and signing are obviously fine.

He said that if, at eighteen months, you don't have a few more words, he'd be concerned, but that for now, we should just keep doing what we're doing - reading to you, talking to you, and teaching you signs - and we'll discuss it again at the next appointment.

Other than things we discussed with the doctor, your newest skills are putting objects into other objects - this just started last week - and trying your best to eat with a fork and spoon.

You've been doing pretty well with "loaded" forks and spoons, but now you're interested in getting the food on them yourself.

You're learning to dip a spoon, or food, into something mushy, and sometimes manage to get it in your mouth, too!

I've ordered you a shallower suction cup bowl, which I think will be a little easier for you to eat from, and I'm looking forward to trying it out.

I'm busy thinking of thick spoony things to offer you, preferably ones that come in resealable packaging, since you won't eat anywhere near all of a "single serving" and then the rest will go to waste.

You want so badly to pick things up with your fork, but I think you have a ways to go before you've got that one really sorted out. Right now, you just kind of whap the food with the fork. We need to work a bit on your stabbing technique, but I can't really think of a shortcut for that one. I guess it will just take time and practice.

You are not yet doing much real imitative play, but you're getting closer and closer to it.

Although you don't really do "grown up things" with them, some of your favorite "toys" are grown up things. You love, love, love carrying your wallet and credit cards, and you especially love my cellphone, iPod and camera.

On the phone and iPod, you like to push the buttons and (I guess) watch things change on the screen. I try to be sure that my phone is "locked" when I give it to you, but you did manage to call Frappa a while back!

With the camera, you like to look at the screen if it's turned on, but mostly, you like to poke the lens and make it open and close, and bite open the door to the battery chamber. I keep a close eye on you when you have the camera!

You also have some favorite games that you like to play.

Although I suspect I might regret it when you are eight, I've taught you to play Hide and Seek. Mostly, it involves me "hiding" and calling out, "Wheeeere's Mama? Come find Mama!" until you find me.

You're not exactly covering your eyes and counting to ten (Although I often say, "One-two-three! Ready or not, hear you come!") but you definitely "get it."

If I peek while you are on your way to get me, you're grinning ear-to-ear, and when you get there, you always grab me and laugh and laugh.

This game has come in quite handy a couple of times when I've not been sure when direction you've wandered off in (inside the house).

Somehow, "Where's Mama! Find Mama!" brings you running much more quickly than "Where are you? Come to Mama!"

Another favorite game is Mama Has a Hat. It goes something like this: You hand me a toy, I put it on my head, you sign "hat" and laugh.

It's a real crowd-pleaser.

Yesterday, at playgroup, we had a "big girl" (she's almost exactly a year older than you) playing along, as well. At one point, her mom and I both had toys on our heads, and you were signing and she was saying "Hat! Hat! Hat!"

Your newest game is "Where'd It Go?" which involves you dropping something, and signing, "Where'd it go?"

This isn't a sign that we intentionally taught you. While we were in Texas, you started responding to the question "Where's . . . " with a big two-hands-up shrug (Which is, I must say, incredibly cute.) which I took to mean "I dunno!"

Over the past couple of weeks though, it's clear that you are using it both to answer and to ask the question yourself.

Sometimes (as we saw it the yogurt video) you'll toss something like your cup overboard from your highchair and ask where it went.

Other times, you've dropped food into the seat beside you, asked "Where'd it go?" and then brought it back out to show me!

My favorite version of this game happened last night. You were sitting in my lap, eating a cracker, and I was wearing a rather low-cut tanktop.

You "asked" for goody, and I said something along the lines of, "Are you all done with your cracker, or do you want to finish it first?"

You very deliberately tucked your cracker into my cleavage, just inside the top of my shirt, and signed, "Where'd it go?"

Everyday, it seems, you do something like that - well, maybe not always that funny, but something that just amazes me, and reminds me what a big girl you are getting to be, and makes it clear just how much stuff is going on in that little head of yours.

I am so very proud of you, and I love you so very much, little toddler-o-mine.



  1. And Anonygrandma and Anonygrandpa love you, too!

  2. Hey, FEAR NOT about the speech issues. My Lily was about where Peeper is now at her age, and she has caught up and then some. It WILL HAPPEN, I promise! There's nothing wrong with her, I am sure, seeing how bright and lively and interactive she is in other ways.

  3. I think she is saying more words than you give her credit for; it seems like it to me when I am around her. And the thing about saying "mamamama" to inanimate objects or whatever, just because it sounds the same to you doesn't mean it sounds the same to her. She OBVIOUSLY knows how to communicate.

  4. My son does not say words either and is mostly babbling Mamamam but he comprehends a lot. If I ask him if it is bath time, he will go for a towel and take it to the bathroom. He will respond to other things, Kiss Quincy, Smell Eddys Feet. I think he tried to say Yellow on Sunday but that was the first time. He only signs more which means want to him. Wait until she does not stop talking and you will wonder what life was like when she was quiet!

  5. I agree with you both on those points. I've got no concerns about her intelligence, or her willingness to interact with others, or her understanding of language or ability to process language or her willingness and ability to communicate with others.

    That all seems to be good.

    I am, however, a little concerned - or at least concerned about whether we should be concerned - with her actual production of words with her mouth.

    She's definitely on the late side with that, and that's probably all there is to it, but there are "things" that are real "things" than affect that without affecting those other abilities, and that's what I'm concerned about.

    It's my understanding that most of those "things" are quite overcome-able with the right assistance and intervention, I just want to make sure that if she needs some assistance, she gets it.

    Or even that if some assistance would help to her to catch up, she gets it, whether it's absolutely necessary or not.

    Given this slowness to talk verbally, I am very glad that we've taught her to sign. I can only imagine how frustrated we'd all be if she didn't have that means of communicating.

  6. I should add that I don't really really think that she's got any "things" going on, but I just don't want to take a "wait and see" approach if there are things we could be doing to help her to catch up.

    That said, for at least the next three months, we're waiting and seeing.


What say you?