All children develop at their own speed – we all know this intellectually, yes? But it’s pretty fascinating to watch it play out in real time.
Baby J is all about physical activity. (Everyone who told me it’s easier to have girls because they are calmer and aren’t as physical can fuck off, because what a lie.) She’s bold and fearless and yes, sometimes covered in bruises. She’s a squirmy little monkey who at 14 months can walk forwards, backwards and sideways, can pull up, stand up, climb up and now down a flight of stairs, connect mega blocks, walk while carrying the half-her-size duplo box, dismount properly off the couch, rock chairs (even non rocking chairs – yikes), climb through tunnels, use a bumbo seat as an obstacle course, climb in to the dishwasher (just that one time when my back was turned, I swear), turn almost anything in to a walking push toy, pull up on a handle and get her feet off the ground, scale the back of the couch on to the desk, self feed, help undress, flip through books, takes apart duplo, pat herself on the chest when she coughs, and so on. She’s so, so physical.
She doesn’t talk.
Like, at all. Well. Okay, she says a few words: no, oh oh, oh no, hi, and a two syllable inquisitive noise that means “what’s that?” Mama and dada, but we haven’t quite figured out what she’s talking about yet – it’s certainly not us. For a while, we were pretty sure she thought her name was dada… She listens, she understands words and requests and is again sleeping thought the night, this time after the doctor told her that she wasn’t going to be fed at night anymore. She’ll bring you items on request and knows that when we say NO we mean it. (Which sometimes starts this hilarious little temper tantrum I work very hard at not laughing at.) She babbles noises and sounds. I’ve had her hearing tested twice, and all signs point to fulling functioning ears. She just … doesn’t have anything to say yet, or something.
I’m not worried. She’s an effective communicator, for a baby, and makes it very clear what she does and doesn’t want. (Not that, obviously, she always gets her way.) She has a sense of humour. She likes to blow raspberries on my belly and play the Squish With Love game (she crawls, I chase after her, and when I catch her, I cover her in kisses until she collapses on the floor giggling.)
When my friends post videos of their similar age kids talking I can simply marvel at their babies without feeling doubt. My kid will get there. My kid is fine. No, my kid is more than fine. My kid is an active little peanut who is too busy with all the places to go and things to see to be bothered talking about it. She’ll get there, and it will be adorable, and until then, I’ll just focus on trying to keep her from using the toilet as a water toy and teaching her how to properly dismount furniture taller than she is.