Thursday, October 11, 2007


People tell me boys generally are slower than girls when it comes to developing language skills. (And boys are supposedly slower to potty train, too.) Please tell me there are exceptions to these rules.

Fly is a smart cookie and says a few words now, but sometimes I still worry he'll be a gangly teenager pointing and grunting at the fridge instead of saying, "Hey ma, we're outta milk."

For example, Fly still puts everything in his mouth. Including our shoes. After saying NO for the eleventy-millionth time, I started going "PBBBBBFFFT!" any time he wanted to chew on something gross. To my surprise, after only a couple days of "PBBBBBFFFT!" he started doing it too. So now when he sees a shoe, Fly first goes "PBBBBBFFFT!" and then eats the shoe.

How is saying "PBBBBBFFFT!" easier than, say, making the Baby Sign for "drink?" I'm a little disappointed that I've been doing Baby Signs with him for nine months now, and he still won't sign with me.

But I press on. Not only am I continuing to do Baby Signs with Fly, but I also read to him. (I try to get him a new book every month, and I leave books out where he can look through them.)

There's something else in my arsenal of language teaching skills: the new Phonics 4 Babies DVD, Baby's First Words. This DVD is hosted by Mallory Lewis (the daughter of Shari Lewis, the famous puppeteer many people remember with cute little Lambchop) and her baby bug, a "Tummy Tot" caterpillar named Giggles. The DVD says it will "unleash the genius" in my child and "jumpstart early language development." Aha! Fly could learn 300 words. ("PBBBBBFFFT!" makes 301.)

Mallory Lewis, Giggles and the other Tummy Tots sing really catchy songs and play word games. One of the games Lewis plays several times throughout the DVD is Can You See It? It shows three items on the screen, and Lewis asks kids to find each item as she names it. This is a good game, but many times the three items have nothing to do with one another -- there's no theme. (One time, the game displays a coat, a mother and a fish.) Other times, though, the items do have a common theme, such as they all start with the same letter.

The DVD makes fun use of music, puppets, animation and real children. Lewis is an excellent performer, too.

Overall, Baby's First Words is a fun DVD to have and is certainly more educational for Fly to watch than even most PBS TV shows, but I think it's mislabeled and is really for an older toddler than Fly (now 13 months). I'll still watch the DVD with him, though -- because I know he's capable of more than "PBBBBBFFFT!"

A Parent Bloggers Network review

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not to disappoint you, but my daughter still likes to stick things in her mouth, and she is almost THREE! I can't tell you how many times a day I say, "What do you have in your mouth?" You know all those toys that say, NOT FOR CHILDREN UNDER THREE? We only have two more weeks before she is three, so we may have to change the rule to not for children under four! :)

3:10 PM  
Blogger Michelle Fluttering Butterflies said...

Don't worry about it. Boys just take a little more time. My son was really slow to start saying words (he still can't say 'dada' or any word with a D, but whatever)as well, even though I talk up a storm with him and we've always read millions of books with him... but he's now almost 23 months and he's picking up 3-4 new words every single day. Have a little patience, he'll get there.

3:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't help you here. My 4 year old is so verbal she is way off the charts. My 16 month old doesn't say a thing. Not even mama or dada. The best I get is some animal noises. The odd thing is she doesn't do some of the obvious ones like kitty or horse. Yet she will do snake, seal and fish. She has me completely baffled.

8:06 PM  
Blogger Nadine said...

My son was easier to potty train than my daughter. He seemed to have to pick up the idea of it quicker. She was a fast talker, but because she was first, he talked in a timely fashion. I wouldn't sweat it though, every child has their own timing in everything...walking, talking, etc. You're a good mom researching ways to help him.

11:04 PM  
Blogger Mamacita Tina said...

I was freaking out when Ian was 18 months old and could only say a vocabulary of maybe five words. Now, I can't shut him up! It will come, when Fly is good and ready. And when it does, look out. They really mean language explosion literally.

11:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Each child grows at their own pace and not neccessarily at the pace we expect of them. I have 4 and all of them are so completely different. Give it time. :)

9:53 AM  
Blogger LBA said...

Relax, and shelf the phonics and just enjoy.

MC was told to see a SPEECH THERAPIST when he was 18mo old, as he wasn't saying a thing.
I went, reluctantly, and the therapist said 'why would he speak when he is so good at getting his point across without words ?'.

And this was true.

At 3yrs old, he is so articulate, but it took a while. I refused to do any of that "Brainy Baby" stuff, but we're big readers here.

As for potty-training. I think it's easier when there's a doodle to play with - no probs here, but it depends on how you feel about nudity.

I recommend hot sunny days, running around bottomless ( underwear feels just like a diaper, so likely to get wet ). Do you have a lemon tree ? Let him 'water' it - it's lots of fun.

Also, let him see Dad going to the toiley too, so he knows what to do by mimicry.

Good luck !

1:26 AM  
Blogger Kristi said...

Well, you're ahead of me, because I had every intention of teaching Isabella to sign, and I never got around to it.

And Isabella still sticks just about everything in her mouth too. Fly is definitely not alone there!

7:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My baby's first words are juice, choo choo, and yesterday he actually said, "go outside?" I went whoa!!! Stop talking cause now you're asking for things!! LOL :)

8:46 AM  
Blogger Pendullum said...

They all come along at their own pace...
But ask your doctor if you think he is not responding as she/he can help you along the way as well...

11:25 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hadley is expontially more advanced than Bode. At 1, she spoke several words and knew multiple baby signs. And Bode? He's reall good at grunting. :-)

6:45 PM  
Blogger Maude Lynn said...

"PBBBBBBFFT!" Don't worry so much!

7:51 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

I didn't potty train my boys until they were about 3.5 because they just weren't ready... it was so much easier and really, I never minded diapers as much as I minded needing to find a clean toilet every 2 minutes!

8:31 AM  

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