I'm reading a book on toddlers and it has some info about language milestones and such. For the twin moms who commented about their concern that their twins are delayed (as mine probably are too), don't worry too much about it. Even in the book it had a caveat that twins tend to be language delayed. It's not just the preemie thing, it's also because we moms have less one on one talking time with each child (don't feel guilty, that's not the big reason), and the big thing being that they have a peer that already understands them so their need for language to communicate is decreased. When their peer is speaking the same baby babble that they are speaking and both the peer and the parents are able to discern meaning from a combination of actions and random sounds, well, why would they feel the need to push themselves for real words? But fear not, they all catch up eventually.
What I'm finding interesting is the two different approaches my girls are taking to learning to talk. Middie Biddie has been babbling up a storm for so long now, I'm surprised she doesn't have more solid words. Teeny Tiny hardly babbled, but she's popping out more actual words with meaning.
I get the impression that Middie Biddie wants to skip the process of learning individual words and go straight for entire sentences and conversations. After we read a book, she'll take the book, start over, and kind of recite a phonetically similar story with all the same intonations. "Blah blah blah BLAH. Blah BLAH blah blah. Blah blah HOORAY!!" She'll do word sequences like counting to ten or sing the alphabet song all the way through. Each time she does it, the sounds she makes get a little more precise and more of the words and sounds become correct. I can tell what phrases from her cartoons she's imitating even if none of the words are right, because the intonations and general sounds are following the pattern of the phrase. She's also a major parrot and will repeat just about anything you say to her. So I think she's going for a blanket learning approach. She'll eventually say an entire phrase correctly even if she doesn't understand the purpose or meaning of each individual word she's speaking.
Teeny Tiny has a very different approach. She learns a word and sticks with it. Her favorites right now are "brush" and "nose". She understands that these individual words correspond to certain things. If she hears a word that sounds like "nose", she'll say "nose" and point to her nose. She also doesn't babble much. While Middie Biddie just talks and blathers all the time, Teeny Tiny is relatively quiet. But then Teeny Tiny will randomly show us that she knows a new word.
It's a curious race to watch. Which one will truly be able to speak and communicate first? Will it be the blanket approach where it takes longer to get something right but when it's right, it's several words at a time? Or will it be the piece by piece approach where each word is learned individually and eventually strung together?
Have I mentioned lately that I love having my own nature versus nurture experiment playing out in front of my eyes? It's really comforting to know with absolute certainty that your kids approach things differently and do things differently and that it's not a result of my doing anything particularly right or wrong. Teeny Tiny naps every afternoon, Middie Biddie will only fall asleep during nap time maybe once a week. But they are treated the same, given the same sleep opportunities, that's simply how they are and whether or not they nap is not a success or failure of anything I'm doing. They are surrounded by all of the same speech and conversation and one is learning one way while the other is learning the other way. Again, they are doing what they are meant to do and it's not according to any manufacturing on my part. One is very clingy and the other is happily independent. One will eat whatever is in front of them, the other is picky. One parks herself in the sandbox and plays with what's right there, the other wanders around the park to see everything. That's just them as individuals and not personality traits I somehow created. Yup, absolute proof that parents do not fully define the personalities, abilities, and life approaches of children. Proof that I can never fully have control makes it a lot easier to let go of trying to control everything.