Saturday, July 11, 2009


Because the tot is zeroing in on 18 1/2 months without much in the way of verbiage, we've decided to ditch the old (naming whatever it was he was "dat!"-ing, talking to him like a slightly hard of hearing adult) and try a new technique: "mirroring". It goes a little something like this -

Boy: "Dat?"

Me: "That's a hat! You want to wear the hat? You looooove to wear Daddy's hat! Should I put Daddy's hat on your head? You look GREAT with that hat on your head! Look at you in that hat! Do you want to put the hat on my head? Look at mama, wearing a hat! Oh, you want to wear the hat again? Here's the hat! Oh, you want to wear the hat while drinking some juice? Here's some juice! I love juice! Mmmm, juice is good! Juice, juice, juice while wearing a hat, hat, hat! How fun is that?!"

I guarantee Ma Ingalls didn't do this bullshit all day.

I know it's an important technique and I'll do my best to keep it up but damn it's exhausting. I always assumed that language was something children just picked up, like the immersion French classes we took in high school. If you talked to your kid on a regular basis, answered his questions, read to him, eventually he'd get the drift. I've encountered some really shitty parents over the years and their kids seem to talk okay. Our kid: lots of attention, mountains of books, a decent balance of encouragement and let-him-be... still no talk. What the what, man?

Other than that, things are awesome with a side of swell. The boy is hella cute and happy as a lark. Matt's kicking ass with Book 2 (and a supergeeky side gig that I don't fully understand) and getting geared for Book 1's big rollout in November. I just sold two more pieces to SELF - they'll be out in December. Nothing to get too excited about, unless you're me. I'm still at the stage in my writing where every validation, no matter how small (which these pieces most definitely are), is worth celebrating. I'm like the actor newbie who gets cast as an extra and tells everyone he knows that he's in a movie. But eff it, I'm still psyched! My dream magazine (BUST) also requested a writing sample for a pitch I sent in which is awesome, awesome. Now I just have to work up the courage to do bigger assignments (with bigger pay) 'cause Mama needs a new pair of everything.


Tor said...

Woohoo congrats on the more bits getting published :D

No assvice on the talking thing here, cos at 2 months older my kid is still mostly into grunt-and-point. If I ask him to tell me what he's pointing at he just points slower, with bigger movements, the pointing equivalent of speaking slowly and loudly while looking at me like I am soooo stupid. At his 18month checkup when I expressed concern I was told to do all the stuff I was already doing about talking with him etc, the stuff like you are doing. Waiting for his 2yr appt to see if it's time for any kinda intervention (or more likely to go on waiting lists for it) while hoping that he suddenly has some breakthrough before then. Still no "mummy, daddy" tho he knows who we are. About all we have here are "no!" and "u!" (up). And a couple of signs that have been a lifesaver. But he understands so much of what we say. So why won't he just bloody talk!?

Ali said...

"Why won't he just bloody talk?"

Sing it, sista.

And I'm so glad to hear that my kid isn't the only one content to grunt-and-point. (Your description totally made me laugh. I had to read it out loud to my husband.)

Tor said...

Hah he came up with a new one today...
He still sometimes has a dummy (yeah I know...), and sometimes does a vague mumble around the dummy with his pointing. I keep hoping that it's the dummy causing the gibberish, so ask him to take out the dummy and tell me again. He takes out the dummy, then repeats the same gibberish, no more understandably than before, then reinserts the dummy.
Today's trick was when he pointed SILENTLY at something and I'd ask what he meant, so he'd remove the dummy without even being asked (well why would I when he hadn't said anything?), point silently again more deliberately, and then return the dummy to his mouth.
So um I guess he's learning something... perhaps that my supposed mind-reading doesn't work through his dummy?

Ali said...

I think I love your kid.

Tor said...

Thanks and likewise.
And I am grateful to yours for so charmingly showing me that my kid isn't alone (and me too). Even tho it all seems so much cuter when it's your boy rather than mine :D
I can't remember how I first stumbled across your blog, probably I really liked a comment you left somewhere else, but your adorable kid and your fun, friendly writing about frustrating issues in common keep me coming back.

Ali said...

Wow, thanks! That just made my day!

Colleen said...

Congrats on all your publishing successes, Alisha! You're an awesome writer; I'm glad the world will be hearing more from you.

On the talking thing--my little brother and my niece didn't talk until around age 2 1/2, closer to 3 years old. We were watching my niece's 3rd birthday video and she was completely silent throughout. Both were evaluated several times as you can imagine, by all sorts of professionals--and both started to talk, in complete PARAGRAPHS, all of a sudden, and have not been quiet much since. In my brother's case the doctor's "go figure" explanation was "Well, some kids want to figure out how to do it completely correctly before they start talking. They don't want to mess around with it until they're proficient." My brother is still kind of like that!

Good luck to you, I know it's frustrating. I fought for years to get Dinah into speech before I got her in last year--she had to be at least 28% delayed and was usually 25% delayed or some such nonsense. And they kept trying to fob me off with "wait until she starts kindergarten, then we'll get her into speech" even though I kept coming back with "wouldn't it be better if she could speak clearly and be understood on her first day of school?!!" Keep after them!

Holly Korbey said...

Whoa! I went to check out your photo from your Facebook posting (knowing the state of my abs, I am just too nosy not to see what you posted), and then found this! When I asked what's going on with you, writing for Self and Bust must go into that! Congratz!! That is really so exciting! And Matt's book is coming out soon, too.

You two rock.