Despite an early surge of talky-ish mimicry, Ike pretty much clammed up and stopped talking altogether around his first birthday. He'd gesture and babble and all that, but it was a long time before we heard any real words from him again.
He was testing me, of course. He was waiting for me to say something about it, to put the soupy dash of worry I was stirring around in my brain into words and admit that I was concerned about his lack of speech, especially as he rapidly approached 18 months — the age when Noah was officially put on the wait-and-watch list.
(Noah was 21 months when he was evaluated and found to be speech delayed, though by that age some of his sensory issues were already very pronounced — toe walking, texture and oral motor issues, lining up toys, etc. — and it was pretty clear that was all probably related.)
I refused to play that game, this time. Instead, I did exactly THE OPPOSITE what I've probably advised a hundred dozen advice-seekers who have emailed me over the years with concerns about their own children's development. I ignored the shit out of it.
To be fair (and to sound slightly LESS monstrous), Ike has two older brothers who are basically talking ALL THE TIME, and quite often talk on his behalf. He uses gestures and sigh language (Noah did not point or wave, either), and does not toe-walk or exhibit any signs of sensory issues. Food textures, grass, clothing, noises — nothing bothers this kid. No delays in fine or gross motor, either. So I told myself his silence was probably just another sign of his laidback personality and general affability. A language explosion was just around the corner, probably.
SPOILER ALERT: He's fine. He's talking now. I won. This time.
He's certainly not as advanced a talker as Ezra was — that child started talking at 12 months and was practically speaking in paragraphs by this age, but...wow. It's almost like I gave birth to three entirely different human beings, or something! Imagine that. But Ike is now saying a perfectly acceptable number of words and making decent attempts to learn and use more on a daily basis.
WORDS HE CAN SAY: Shoes, sit, go, off, open, peekaboo, ball, book, cat, woof woof, vroom vroom, hi, bye, there it is, what's that, teeth, cheese, juice, hat, Elmo, Ezra, Daddy.
WORDS HE CANNOT SAY: Mommy. Or mama. Or mom. Or wonderful exalted woman who gave birth to me. Whatever.
But his favorite word — oh my goodness, his favorite word in the whole world that he says a million times a day — is quite possibly the most marvelous thing ANY of my children have accomplished. And they've all accomplished some pretty damn marvelous things.
Yes! The opposite of NO, which he actually does NOT say. He'll shake his head for no if he has to, but 99% of the time he'd rather answer your question with YES.
And yes, it's hard not to abuse a little bit and ask the same question over and over again, or ask questions that he doesn't understand in the first place, like whether he believes in climate change or whether these jeans make my butt look amazing. "YETH!" he'll respond. "HIGH FIVE!" I'll say. "Good talk."
(And double-yes, I realize that by typing all this out and uploading that video, he will probably wake up from his nap screaming "NOOOO" at the top of his lungs, forever and evermore, amen. But it was real cute while it lasted, I guess.)