Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Look who's talking

I took Betty to an activity morning earlier today, where they had a singing and dancing session, lots of unusual toys and instruments, and various things to jump on and climb through.

Betty spent most of the morning chasing the boys (ignoring the girls) and giving them big snotty kisses on the lips. I spent most of the morning being grilled by a scary mother (SM), who I had previously met at Betty’s swimming classes last year. She was asking me how many words Betty can say and whether or not she is putting words together yet. I explained to SM that Betty says ‘Da Da’ quite a lot, and apart from teasing us with the odd one-offs such as ‘tractor, fish, windmill, melon, biscuit, goodbye’ etc, that is about as far as things have got. I told her that I wasn’t worried, and that Betty has her own mind and would speak when she is good and ready and not when we tell her to.

SM went on to tell me that her ‘little prince’ can say almost anything, and in two languages what’s more, and is now putting 3 or 4 words together. She told me that this was almost certainly because she had religiously read books to her child daily ever since he was born, and also that she ‘takes the time’ to talk to him regularly. She then gave me a sympathetic look, shook her head and tutted. I wasn’t sure if she was tutting at me for being a bad mother for not reading or talking to my daughter (which, just for the record, I do, and always have done, ALL THE TIME), or at Betty for not being as advanced as SM’s little multi-lingual genius.

My great aunt regularly asks me whether or not I am actively teaching Betty to talk. And when Betty and I are in her company, she takes matters into her own hands and will spend hours with Betty saying loudly and clearly: ‘This is a BALL BALL BALL. This is a CAT CAT CAT.’ Betty reacts in much the same way as she does with me and Tom, and raises her eyebrows, sighs, and demands to be let into the fridge so that she can play with some tomatoes.

Having desperately tried, but failed, to join in Betty’s game of kicking three balls simultaneously around the room, I noticed that SM was still hot my heels, and was coming at me with a conversation about potty training. I informed her that Betty is not potty-trained, but does enjoy sitting the doorstop on the potty and making a ‘psshhh’ing sound. SM looked disturbed at this, and then told me in great detail about how she had taken a week off work to potty train her 20 month old child. ‘Admittedly it was chaos’ she said, ‘there was poo and wee all over the house for the first 3 days, and then I gave up.’ She told me that she plans to take another week off work in September and try it all again.

There was a scary look in her eyes, and so I left her with her potty thoughts, and went off to join Betty for a hand-clapping session.

15 comments:

Potty Mummy said...

Oh, those Scary Mothers, don't you just love them? Just remind her of Einstein who didn't say a word until, aged 4 years old, he said at dinner; "This soup is cold." His family were amazed. "You can talk! Why didn't you speak before?" "Because everything was in order until now..."

A Confused Take That Fan said...

potty mummy - love that Einstein story. Is it true?
Elsie B, this SM is one insecure lady. I feel sorry for her really.
Betty is doing her thing, just like my 21 month old who can't string two words together yet. But she can run very fast...

Iota said...

Einstein was a dunce at school.

I think you should take the bull by the horns with scary mummy. Go up to her next time you see her, and ask her how her son is doing on his skills with playing with tomatoes. Tell her it's one of the key skills identified in the new pre-school curriculum. Then ask how good his attention span is for sitting on a doorstep. Tell her this is a crucial developmental stage in teaching children to sit at a table or desk in school. If she misses it out, he risks developing ADHD, and may well be unteachable.

kirsty815 said...

Thanks to Dora The Explorer Meggers can say open in Spanish and count to ten..lol Whatever! I call them CP's Competitive Parents. Meggers has always had delays due to her epilepsy and I've had my fair share of CP's. Turn the tables and say something like that's really wierd, most serial killers are really advanced at a young age..lol I know I'm evil..lol

Jonny's Mommy said...

Jonathan is speaking very little and I've decided it isn't that he can't speak, it is that he simply doesn't feel the need to show us he can.

The other night he decided to show us a little preview and a few words tumbled out.

So....he speaks after all.
Hmmmmmmm.....

And as for that lady, ummmmmmmm I agree with Kirsty.....

Mom/Mum said...

Elise B I loved this blog. You have made me feel so much better about my 26 month old who's only just saying Mama and Da Da, despite, like Betty, having said with clarity, digger, milk, neigh, woof and many more one-offs. My hubs says it because he can't get a word in edgeways between me and our 3 yr-old chatterbox. but I like to think it's because he has a bit of Potty Mummy's Einstein lurking in there!
Maybe you'd enjoy my recent blog about talking too?
http://momormumwars.blogspot.com

SAVanVleck said...

I am 60 and raised two girls and have fourteen grandchildren and now, the ones who are in their twenties are all at the same developmental stage and one of them didn't speak plainly till he was seven or eight. One had a stroke at a month and wasn't potty trained till he was five. He's nineteen now and just like the rest. No adult nappy there.

They all develop at their own rates and it takes a really insecure person to follow someone around to try to make themselves feel superior.

Jaywalker said...

God the competitive parents. Poke her in the eye next time. This weekend I had "Oh my goodness! Your children eat SWEETS?!" (sweets pronounced in a tone implying crack cocaine). Ha.

Adventure Mother said...

Mothers like this used to make me feel so insecure on my first child. Potty training before 2 and buying them desks for their 2nd Christmas (I'm not joking). I was far less paranoid with my second child despite his slower development.

Louise said...

Aghhhhh!!! That mother does indeed sound scary! I always fond myself sat next to them!

Betty is advanced in so many ways. She is so clever that she is just waiting so that she can formulate her ideas into complete sentences when she is ready.

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Ah, now i think the key phrase here is, 'took a week off work' and plans to 'take another week off work'...

Should she be renamed 'feeling guilty and over-compensating mother'?

I love Scary Mothers, they are like watching a car crash, I like to feign lots of interest so that they get more and more on a roll and come out with yet more priceless toe-curling gems!

For the record, my super fourth poppet who has been handed to her siblings to cuddle, placed in chairs and up against cushions in my vague vicinity, been (gasp) plonked in front of the telly, and has not had many reading sessions with mother, outstrips all her siblings when they were at the same age.

Although I'm not sure her telling me 'I hate you stupid Mummy' when she was 18 months old could be termed progress.

Pigx

Sparx said...

Elsie - well I can hardly improve on all those wonderful comments but I have to say 'poo on her' - and for a week in september, I hope! Spud's not talking at all either, not much. I think he can when we're not there though... he's just keeping it secret

Hadriana's Treasures said...

My God! I must be related to Einstein...apparently I did exactly the same thing...except I was 3 not 4. Didn't say a single word (just grunted) but at age 3 bingo out it came: "Uncle Jim please pass me the ball!" Needless to say Uncle Jim was gobsmacked. Hey that Einstein stuff has made my day! (BTW my nearly two year old can say: dad, mum, ball, bus, baby, tractor...but refers to most things as "ball". Good for him!)

Hadriana's Treasures said...

I keep popping back as I'm doing this and tea too (multitasking!)..Betty sounds just great! Ignore those scary mums...

Helen/ilana said...

This reminds of the SM who demanded to know why Hair Two had no teeth at the age of 12 months. Had I taken the 'poor' child to the dentist? Well no I had not because I was pretty sure the dentist would look into my little one's mouth and say, "Nope no teeth there", just before handing me a monstrous bill. For another SM story check out today's post on my blog. Thanks for the hilarious read.