Archive for the ‘Speaking’ Category

Growing in understanding

February 9, 2014

Baby is nearly a year old. And suddenly he seems to begun to understand what we are saying. We play finding games all the time. We say ‘where is Bub?’, for instance, and he looks around and points. It’s really odd what we can understand and what he can’t. Ask him where Mia is, our cat, and he gets it every time. Ask him where mummy or daddy are and he hasn’t a clue. He’s very good with some toys – one baby doll called Tommy he loves and will happily search around for ages looking for him.

He is also kind of speaking a bit too. He says ‘da da da’ all the time, though not in any context. But he does try to say the cat’s name. When he sees her he says ‘eee-a’ and does it so often it’s not a coincidence. This is all very exciting because his big brother Bub didn’t do much early talking or experiment with sounds.


Call and response

November 21, 2013

Baby has started to make a variety of vocal sounds and noises. It’s really exciting. He’ll make a ‘ssss’ sound and then laugh when I do one back. Often we’ll have what are almost conversations where we are hissing and smiling at each other. He also makes ‘duh duh’ and ‘buh buh’ sounds.

This is all lots of fun. And in massive contrast to his big brother. Bub had very delayed speech and I don’t remember him ever testing out sounds or doing call and response type stuff. All this makes me think that Baby will be speaking much sooner than Bub did.

Worrying about the three year old

June 23, 2013

I write a lot on here about Baby’s sleeping, eating etc. But in actual fact it’s his brother who his daddy and I spend most time worrying about. I guess with Baby we have been here before. And whilst I am concerned to ensure he is ok it’s all fairly straightforward. With Bub, who is three, we feel much more uncertain. This is the uncharted territory for us that occupies much more of our thoughts and discussions.

For example Bub is regularly getting hurt at nursery. In particular he is getting bitten. However he is super reluctant to talk about it and never tells the ladies there. We don’t know if this is just part of the rough and tumble of boys play or something more targeted. Is he always the one hurt or bitten? The one who is always chased when they play monsters? We just don’t know and Bub can’t or won’t tell us. I know he likes his friends as he tells us so and is keen to see them. And in the past he’s had his own issues with pushing and hitting. But I hate the idea of him putting up with mean behaviour just to be someone’s friend. The other day he even said “I like bites” in response to questions about where the latest mark came from.

Bub has definitely changed since moving up to the 3-5 year olds room at nursery. He used to be very much the leader when with the two year olds. But now he is meek and a definite follower. This could be a natural personality change which arises from greater social awareness. Or perhaps a temporary thing stemming from his poor language skills compared to his peers. I just hope it’s not because he is having a really tough time and his natural tendencies are being squashed.

His move to the bigger age group happened at the same time as his brother was born which probably hasn’t helped. My hope is that come September all the very big kids will go to school. Bub will no longer be one if the littlest and hopefully he’ll be more confident and secure.

Would welcome any thoughts from readers. What can we do to help our little boy feel secure and happy? How can we encourage him to tell us what is going on?

All words are nice, mummy

April 22, 2013

Bub has developed quite a potty mouth recently. I’m sure he gets a lot from us (despite my best efforts.) But the bigger kids at nursery probably have a lot to answer for here too.

He’s recently started to call people stupid. I was telling him off for this the other day when he hit me with a zinger of a comeback.

‘But all words are nice, mummy.’

And therefore I couldn’t tell him off as stupid was a word and, ergo, was nice.

He’s since used this response on me several times. This isn’t something Bub would have come up with himself so he must have heard a child say it at nursery. He says it with such a sense of rightness and self-satisfaction that I’m sure he totally believes it. Whoever he heard say this is clearly an authoritative source and knows far more than mummy about what is right and wrong!

Three going on thirteen

April 6, 2013

I currently feel like I know exactly what it’s like to live with a teenager. Bub is three years old going on thirteen!

He has definitely mastered the teenage selective hearing. Often he completely ignores us when we speak to him. He’s also got the dismissiveness sorted too:

“I no like you anymore!”
“I don’t love you mummy!”
“I don’t want you in this house. I throw you out of the window daddy!”
“Easter eggs are boring!”
“That is stupid!”
“This is rubbish!”
“Put telly on NOW!”

Not to mention his ability to selectively play dumb. “I don’t know” is a frequent answer to questions, even things you know he knows the answer to. I’m not sure if this is stubbornness or an odd shyness but he often now answers our questions in this way.

His music taste is quite teenage too. Not for Bub the delights of nursery rhymes. His favourite song is by Marilyn Manson!! He insists we put it on then runs up and down, jumps and kicks. But god forbid if we try to join in. “Don’t dance! Don’t sing! Just [Bub]!”

The final and nastiest thing is his spitting habit. He does this aggressively and deliberately, snarling too. He also does a good line in hisses and animalistic growls.

Where did my sweet little lad go?? Hope he’s not gone for good and will return once he has got over the arrival of his little brother.

More great childcare? Probably not…

February 6, 2013

Bub has just moved to a new ‘room’ at nursery. This is because he’s three so he is now in the three to five year olds section.

It’s given me an interesting perspective on the recent Government proposals to relax the staff to child ratios in childcare provision.

The room Bub is in now has eight kids to every adult. In his previous room (two to three year olds) it was four to one. As parents we’ve noticed a big difference straight away. Bub only does afternoons so he arrives midway through the day. In the old setting staff would greet him, settle him in and encourage him to get into some play. If he was clingy they’d carry him to the window to wave goodbye to us. Now he gets barely any acknowledgement and we as parents get even less. A group of little girls said something nasty to Bub on drop off the other day and there was no-one to speak to or help support him into the session. Bub’s daddy had to help integrate a rather down hearted little boy into a game himself.

I know that the older kids require less help and support, in general, but Bub has only just switched rooms. He’s generally very happy about being with the big kids. But the problem with strict ratios is that there’s no slack to provide extra attention if it’s needed. And this is with the current staffing ratios. Increase them further and this can only get worse.

Bub’s language skills are so much better than they were. But he just can’t keep up with the super fluent four year olds he’s now mixing with. It’s a bit sad to see them chatting away like mad with each other. He can understand but not join in. I’m sure that, alongside just general change, this is why he’s a bit unsettled by the move to another section. And probably why some of the bigger kids just see him as a baby who they don’t want to play with.

Am sure he’ll be fine soon but at the moment I do feel for the poor boy. He’s desperately keen to be friends, especially with bigger kids, but needs a bit of help sometimes to do so. And it’s sad the nursery doesn’t quite have the staff in place to help it happen.

This is why the proposed changes worry me. The government suggests that greater ratios will not reduce quality but I fail to see how this follows. I also doubt childcare costs will reduce much either. Most local nurseries are already filled to their physical capacity. There won’t be new spaces popping up. Instead it’ll just mean that childcare jobs go, nursery margins increase slightly from rock bottom, and kids get a rawer deal. I really can’t see prices dropping by more than a small fraction and if anything they’ll increase for parents willing to pay over the odds for a ‘premium’ service with reasonable ratios.

Something does need to be done about the high cost of childcare. But I don’t think this is it. More state assistance with childcare costs seems to me to be the best and only way to retain quality but reduce fees. Spread the load a bit amongst all taxpayers so that parents themselves pay less during those early years. This way parents can then make decisions about staying in work, or not, based on factors other than the ferociously high cost of care. I’m sure over time the increased income (and therefore taxes) of parents who choose to work would go some way to helping fund this. And over years parents do of course pay a very large amount of tax which would mean they ultimately meet the cost of this short term assistance with care costs.

Suddenly we have nouns!

October 24, 2012

Bub’s talking has taken a quantum leap this week. He’s suddenly discovered nouns and a whole new world if words has opened up.

Regular Bub-watchers will recall that he is very behind in his speaking. At two and three quarters he is about a year behind his peers. His understanding is all there, and we know his hearing is fine, but the words just don’t come out.

He was particularly funny about nouns. He could say a handful of nouns – chair, brother, ter (car), haribo… But virtually no others.

However all this may be about to change. All of a sudden this week we’ve had the following:

Cheese, hair, pear, beer, bum, toast, toaster, quiche, ham, orange, twos (shoes), poker (!), car, balloon, air, george, cup of tea, cat, bus, church, moon, train and more I can’t remember right now.

Bub also said ‘I luv mumma’ which was of course my very favourite new thing of all.


June 3, 2012

Little one’s speech improving by the day. Today he finally mastered the ‘eee’ sound. Heard him shouting down the stairs ‘mama-i-eee’ in his attempt to say mummy. Well done Bub!

Of course it could be him plugging the name of one of my favourite mummy bloggers maybe. 😉

We have speech therapy session in a week. Perhaps we’ll have a fully accomplished ‘mummy’ by then.

Boy of few words

June 2, 2012

Bub has an appointment for a speech therapy consultation soon. We’ve had his hearing tested and thankfully no problems there. Next step is this consultation.

Not sure if they’ll just see us once or whether we’ll be invited to regular sessions. I’m also not sure how bad they’ll think Bub’s speech now is. It’s definitely miles better than when he was just two. Then he could only say ‘dada’ and ‘no’. Now at 28 months he can say a lot more, albeit sometimes quite garbled.

I thought it might be helpful preparation before our consultation if I tried to list all his words.

No way
I (meaning I, me, Bub)
I did it
Over there
Dja (for yes)
Oh no
Oh dear
Go over there (you probably have to be his parent to translate this order though)
Go up there (ditto)
Nuvva (another)
Mmmmm (for moo like a cow)
Two (the number)
Eight (the number)
Ssss (for the letter s)
Ooo (for the letter o)

Interestingly he’s just started characterising things as mummy things or daddy things. So our ‘grown up’ yogurts are ‘dada’ yogurts. But also animals are either dada animals or mama animals. Maybe this is because of his limited vocabulary or perhaps something many kids do?

He also does various non-speech noises for a few things.
A clicking noise – cat (like a cat eating noise)
Panting – dog
Sniffing – pig
Raaarrr – a monster/dragon
Tssss – a train or aeroplane noise

He also does a bit of signing.
– Moving his arm in a hitting motion with sound effect ‘uh, uh’ (sadly to imply hitting someone, or playing Angry Birds)
– Turning a car steering wheel (for car)
– Putting his finger in and out of his mouth (I’m hungry)
– Duck
– Waving
– Pointing

There are definitely sounds he never makes. I’ve never heard him do an ‘eee’ sound. So when he now says ‘mum’ I think he is trying to move from ‘mama’ to ‘mummy’ but just can’t finish the word. He loves numbers and can say two very happily. But when trying to show three he’ll hold up three fingers rather than try to say the word.

Be interesting to hear what they say. I’m reassured he’s much better than four months ago but still a very long way off his peers.

Badly behaved boy

April 20, 2012

Something happens to my Bub in the presence of other toddlers. He goes from being a mainly charming and sweet little boy into a bullying tyrant. Recently he’s started being really physical and he pushes and hits other kids sometimes. He uses his body to push them aside if they are in his way. And also pushes and hits for pure amusement too I think.

We try to stop him, tell him no, take him aside, even take him entirely away from the situation. But after a telling off it sometimes feels like he is even more single minded about doing it again.

I’m really hoping this is a brief phase. I hope as his language skills develop he’ll find other ways to interact with others. It’s horrible to be out and about worrying about his behaviour and having to prevent him upsetting other kids.

I’m really in need of a good book or website on discipline and boundary setting for toddlers. Any suggestions?

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