Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Suzanne versus Max

Any regular reader here knows that I am keenly interested (don't say obsessed or preoccupied please!) in my children's language progress. Besides the normal parental concerns, I do have a background in teaching language so I have a real intellectual cursiousity when it comes to language in general and my own kids' language in particuliar.

They say you shouldn't compare your children. But, come on, how can you not? (By the way, it's Suzanne on the left and Max on the right)

Suzanne is, admittedly, very good with language. She began meaningful speech when she was 8 months old; she was turning the pages of books by 9 months; she was making animal sounds by 10 and also pointing to objects when asked and by 15 months she was clearly bilingual. (click here for posts about Suzanne's language development). But she couldn't crawl til she was 1 year old; she didn't stand until she was 15 months old; she didn't walk until she was 20 months old and most importantly, she didn't sleep through the night until she was 10 months old.

So at 12 months, she may have been calling me from her bed, "Mommy, morning!" but a kid can't do everything.

Max is a different beast. At 10 months, he is starting to turn pages of a book (when he's not trying to eat it), is almost crawling and cruising and walking all at once, but he's a wonderful sleeper. He doesn't use words yet, but he actively communicates in his own way.

A few months ago, I think he tried to say Mommmmm but hasn't done it since so I'm hesitant to commit to that being his first word. But he has begun repeating babble and sounds. Over the weekend, we were doing animal noises. Suzanne began quacking and Max cracked up and began saying, "gakgakgak". So the boy's linguistic brain is working but not in the same was as Suzanne's.

There are so many theories that I could put down here:

  • boys speak later than girls
  • Suzanne got more language input - even if it was in French- than Max because her nanny was much more stimulating than his is.
  • "Kids can't do everything at once"
  • I was more active in teaching her whereas I rely on more passive language for him.
I could go on and on and make myself feel bad. But the bottom line is, he will speak one day. I'll bet he'll even speak English one day. The important thing is that Max is communicating and that he's a happy little boy.


Anonymous said...

Wow, Suzanne spoke really early! My guys spoke late but were both walking at a year. I think the second one has a harder time because the first one is talking all the time and the second one doesn't get a look in. My poor brother didn't talk til quite late, but when he did, he toddled into my parents' bedroom, sat up on a pillow and started speaking in complete sentences. I spoke for him all the time before that.

Happy boys are the best. Happy girls, too!


Reb said...

Good point Rachael. The first one definitely does take up all the talking space...

Rea said...

And what role does personality play? It does beg the whole nature versus nurture debate. My 15 month boy is very physical and walked at 9 months. So far he is totally bilingual, with one word in each language! He gets his point across running, jumping, pointing and stomping. They are such individuals.


Reb said...

Rea, you definitely have a point. Nature vs nurture. Plus a little mix of both :)
I took my first business trip just before my daughter's first birthday. And I distinctly remember my husband putting her on the phone and her saying, in more or less intelligible langue, "hi mommy" and then having a mini conversation (ie she was able to answer my simple questions with single words) I can't see my son getting to that point in the next month. Different kids...

Sarah said...

You're an amazing parent with them both!

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