I can still remember the dinner when Allison suddenly said “i-gh” while pointing at the light switch. We all laughed (I almost cried) and turned the lights on and off with her command, celebrating the first word sound we had heard her say. Michelle got in on the fun of clapping for the lights; she even said “i-gh” herself! My one year olds had spoken!
That moment of celebration was short lived, because instead of “i-gh” being the start of lots more words to come, it was the end. And then sadly, wasn’t repeated again for a very long time.
When I had twin babies, I held a weekly playgroup at my house to try to help the feeling of being stir-crazy and home-bound. My friends that came and I had all had our babies within almost a month of each other. We held our babies and chatted – they with their one little baby each, and me with my two little babies; we were all new mothers and all overwhelmed. I was so overwhelmed I was drowning, though I didn’t bring that up amidst our friendly playgroup chatter.
I watched as my daughters’ baby peers could say “Mama” and “Dada”. My husband and I longed for the day we would hear our babies call us by name. It had to be coming, right?
The months went on and though we *technically* know you shouldn’t compare your children to others; the awful truth became painfully obvious. Our daughters’ peers were beginning to speak in full sentences and we were still waiting for “Mama” and “Dada”. We enlisted some help from professionals.
Our daughters were truly our pride and joy – our whole worlds. They were so amazing in their own rights. Like: our 1 year olds could swim! They stared into our eyes and loved to cuddle! They could follow a series of complex spoken directions! They laughed and played, danced to music, loved to be read to, and ate up all of their spaghetti! These are things we didn’t take for granted, but still, our babies were going to be turning 2, and missing all of their talking milestones.
I slowly realized that my daughters were talking to each other, and I had no idea what about. Their conversations just sounded like noise, except you could tell it wasn’t just noise to them. When you catch twin talk (called Idioglossia) early and work with knowledgeable professionals, there is so much hope.
Fast forward through lots of speech therapy and lots of good advice …
And now, I am writing this as my fabulous five year old girls play around me. Not only are they talented artists and Barbie aficionados, but they can talk. A lot. Most importantly, they say words we can all understand! They still do most of their talking to each other and there are lots of times we can’t really follow their fast-paced conversations that seem filled with gaps in thought to everyone else. But, when I think of how far we’ve come so far, and reflect on the direction we’re going, I just feel grateful. We keep working at it, and truthfully, the work now feels nothing like work. We take our daughters on individual dates, we try to have family conversations over dinner, and search for opportunities for parent-child (one on one) conversations. Their preschool teachers have them sit at different tables in preparation for the different kindergarten classes they will attend in the fall, where we hope their ability to talk to others will improve even more.
I want so badly for my identical twins to be life-long friends. They are so lucky to have a built-in friend and sister, and I want to nurture such a rare and beautiful relationship. But I also want them to have so much more – lots of friends, husbands and families one day, a full life! I want their twin relationship to be a blessing, not a handicap. That is the future I see coming for them – and the future is bright, full of a lot of “i-gh”.
~Mary of Making Family Life Fun