My first child was born to talk and possessed a considerable vocabulary by her first birthday. For her recent third birthday, we gave her a copy of Little Miss Chatterbox, with a note inside sharing our fondness for her own chatty ways.
And then came Truett. Our son, 22 months younger than our verbose daughter, is worlds apart from his sister in many ways. Paisley takes the lead, Truett likes to follow. Paisley diapers her babies while Truett has a fondness for rocks. A rock from the garden in each hand, maybe even in his mouth, and he is a happy boy.
My husband and I have wondered whether Truett is on track developmentally in terms of his speaking ability. By twelve months, Paisley had lots to say. Truett, on the other hand, had just managed to eke out “mama” and “dada” at that point. A recent conversation between us went like this: “Truett, do you like your Teddy Bear? Can you say Teddy Bear?” Truett’s thoughtful reply? “Goo Goo Ga Ga.” (This is not a paraphrase. That was his exact response!)
I marveled at my son’s perfect use of baby speak, chuckled in response, then made up my mind that Truett is an avid listener. I can see him processing what goes on around him, and he will have something to say when he is ready. Even our pediatrician has encouraged us to relax, stop comparing and let our son learn and develop at his own pace.
What is it, I wonder, that makes us want to pit our children in competition against one another? God made each of us in perfect, wonderful uniqueness. Instead of comparing our children to anyone else’s accomplishments, we should celebrate their individual talents, personalities and even quirks. My little rock-biter might not have much to say now, but he is learning every day and growing at his own pace. What a blessing to be part of his journey.