I don't follow milestone charts or books, so even with The Boy, I wouldn't know whether he was early or late to do something until after he did it, for the most part. I got so upset when he rolled over late, I determined ignoring the official charts was best for my mental health and my marriage. With The Lad, I've been even more oblivious. Where I worked with The Boy to hold a bottle and then a cup, I just sort of looked up one day, saw The Lad could hold a bottle and thought, "Gee, let's try a cup." Then, I promptly forgot that thought thanks to a tantrum or a burning dinner or an article to be written or a giant poo and, weeks later, when I saw The Lad steal his brother's cup, handed him one of his own to ward off a fight. That's been my approach to every new skill. "Oh, you can do that!"
So, I don't know why I suddenly became preoccupied with The Lad's lack of babbling.
He babbles some, but The Lad communicates in short bursts, not strings of sounds. Exclamations of ah! and giggles and this half cough/half laugh are interspersed sparingly with squeals and squawks. The Boy, at this age, babbled like a white noise machine. He was saying mamamamama while trailing after me. Consonant sounds, which according to the official books -- I looked -- should be making their way to babies' mouths by the end of 7 months, rarely slip into The Lad's babbling.
I was convinced he was hard of hearing. Nevermind the fact that he has never failed a hearing test and responds to sounds, including his name and No! Nevermind the fact that if you say "Cat!" he'll come looking for his favorite thing to pester. When I couldn't argue these facts with the husband, my mind wandered to the blogs I read where children have sensory problems or are on the spectrum. How early was too early to diagnosis a speech problem? I knew I was being crazy, but I couldn't help myself. I googled and despaired.
Then, I picked up The Lad from school and Miss Linda, who raised six kids and is one of The Lad's favorite people, started telling me about his adventures that day. He had bumped his chin repeatedly trying to stand up on a new play table. He chased after the other babies. He used a cup and ate puffs. He pulled himself to standing at his favorite spot. He finally mastered standing at the new spot. "He's amazing," Miss Linda said. "He just does so well."
"But he's not babbling much ..."
And she told me about her one daughter who didn't talk til she was 2. I remembered my sister, who never needed to talk because of Chatty Cathy me and so didn't really talk until one day, when everyone was busy, she pulled on Mom's pants and said, "I want water NOW."
"He watches everything," Miss Linda said. "He doesn't miss a thing."
She's right. The Lad is a watchful little guy and an independent one. He's busy mastering his body right now. He's figured out crawling and standing and this weekend actually was trying to make a stepstool work as a walker. Since realizing I was being ridiculous, I have been listening a little closer and he does, occasionally get in an S-sound in his babbles. He'll figure it out.
Now if I can just figure out how to keep from comparing the boys against each other.