Mahma, baboom and numnum

One of the biggest mistakes I’ve done since becoming a mother for the second time is to compare my two daughters.

It started with Robin’s pregnancy. I couldn’t help but compare it to the one I had had with Maia. I went on about how my first pregnancy was a walk in the park compared to the second one, how much slower and bigger I was with Robin, how useless I felt this time as opposed to how strong and positive I had been carrying Maia…the list went on and on. Unfortunately, I fell into the trap of comparing the two girls’ milestones as well. As we all know, no two children are the same, much in the same way that no two pregnancies are the same. I knew that, so why did I keep expecting Robin to ‘match up’ to her sister?

In many ways, Robin was and still is an easier baby than her sister. She’s a better sleeper, a better eater and generally more easy-going. All this, however, has little to do with my girls and has everything to do with me. I was a nervous wreck with Maia. I was alone (especially emotionally), scared, nervous, overprotective and tried to overcompensate for the lack of a father in her life. With Robin I was more relaxed, happily married, more mature and generally better able to handle the wild mood swings that follow childbirth. It is no surprise that most second (and subsequent) babies are calmer. A calm mother = a calm baby.

All this brings me to the one thing I was still worrying myself sick over until recently: Robin’s speech. Allow me to compare my two girls, just for the sake of illustrating my point. Maia said her first words at 8 months. By the time she was 11 months old her vocabulary consisted of seven words. By the time she was Robin’s age (21 months), she could string words together and knew the alphabet (more or less), the colours and could count to ten in Maltese, English, Greek and Spanish. In hindsight, she was verbally advanced for her age but only now do I realise that that was not the norm. Robin has recently started saying more words but is nowhere near as advanced as Maia was at her age. She can now say the following words (I’m not including the pronunciation of each word, for brevity’s sake):

mama’ | papa’ | Maia | nanna | nannu | Mikela, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse (all pronounced mahma) | yes | no | go | move | water | Lola (wowa) | more | car | moon | ball, balloon, anything round (baboom) | cheese | Jesus (!!) | mouth | teeth | nose | eyes | hair | hat | gaga (dummy) | book | numnum (food) | baby | banana (baba) | bye | brava

I’m sure I’m missing some more but just writing a list of more than 5 words makes me happy. There is slow but steady progress going on here. What’s most important is that she understands everything (even complex orders) and she is (finally!) trying to repeat words she hears.

I know now that I’m not worried anymore about whether she will talk or not. I know it’s only a matter of time. In the meantime, I’m doing my best to enjoy these couple of years of not being contradicted or interrupted every four seconds, at least by one of my daughters.

rob b&w



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  1. Loreta Scicluna March 27, 2013 — 8:21 am

    My children were both late talkers, but I blamed it on being spoken to in English and Maltese… When they finally started talking and saying words correctly, it was in two diff languages. 🙂 the grandchildren are the same, compared to the other kids at school. But they understand perfect English and Maltese at the end of the day… So I’m happy ;). it’s a plus for them in school and in the future, especially the way they pronounce their English….
    Kids are different….. And they all have their own way of learning and picking up things…

    • You’re right. She’s always been advanced physically (walked at an average age but could climb/run/jump off things very early on) and on every other level she’s average, so I’m not worried anymore. It’s just that for a long time she was silent, so it freaked me out a little, especially because my previous experience was the other extreme.

  2. Usually kids who are late talkers all of a sudden start forming nearly perfect sentences.

  3. I have had the same fears with Caleb. I often have to write myself a list of words he can say and I’m pleasantly surprised when I do. He knows a lot of words, some that surprise me – but he is yet to string a sentence – or even two words together.
    I tend to compare him to his peers, which is unfair – but I guess that’s the only comparison I have to gauge his progress. We have gone as far as thinking he may have hearing problems, but when I whisper to him, he turns and smiles know exactly what I have said!
    Like Robin, he understands orders and instructions – I think similarly, they are just taking their time with mimicking and repeating words and sounds.
    You’re right – maybe we should just enjoy them being babies/children. Once they grow up – we will look back and wonder what all the rush was about. I do that now when I think about Caleb’s walking – he didn’t take his first steps until 20 months.So maybe he is just delayed with everything… And that’s ok 😉

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