Those three little words



Estimated Reading Time 2 Minutes

Every time I drop Eleanor with a babysitter, leave for work, or put her to bed, I say “Love you!” And then I wait, holding my breath. Will today be the day she says it back? She is 18 months now and has a very extensive vocabulary, but I have been chasing that elusive phrase for months.

This morning before I left for work, I heard Eleanor say several words: Mom, Daddy, doggy, Penny, bum, flower, butterfly and even magnet. As I put on my coat and shoes, Eleanor began waving and yelling, “Byyyeeee” over and over again. When I was finally ready, I stood by the door and said, “Bye. Love you!” She looked at me and said, “Love you.” My husband’s head jerked up from the kitchen with surprise and I yelled to him, “Did you hear that?!” 

It was actually more like “Ahhhnooo”, but I got the point. My heart nearly burst out of my chest because it was so full of love. She had no idea what she was saying, but repeated herself. I grabbed the phone and called my mom, making her listen to the kiddo’s new words. She was equally excited.

Each time my kiddo says a new word, I have a mini celebration. But hearing those three magic words were some of the best. I am very proud of her language skills. Friends and family members have had children that required extra help developing their communication skills, so I pay close attention to the words Eleanor is saying and how she is pronouncing them. Her enunciation isn’t spot-on yet, but as long as we get the gist of what she is saying, I figure that is a step in the right direction. I would put her vocabulary (including animal noises) at about 75 words, but she definitely understands much more.

If you have concerns about your child’s language development, speak to your health care provider if your child :

  • knows fewer than 10 words between 18 and 20 months of age
  • knows fewer than 25 words between 21 and 24 months of age
  • knows fewer than 50 words or no two-word phrases between 24 and 30 months of age

If any of these apply to you, you may have a late talker on your hands. This isn’t a terrible thing–it just means you might have to put forth a little more effort when it comes to teaching communication skills.

I posted Eleanor’s breakthrough on Facebook, bragged about it to co-workers and am now blogging about it. And as happy as I am about finally hearing those words that every mom wants to hear, in the back of my mind I will always know she said “magnet” first.

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