Can Trixie Talk?

In a word, No. A lot of readers have recently asked about whether Trixie is finally talking. I’ve been hesitant to address the issue because there’s not much to write about and I’ve had my head in the sand. She just doesn’t do it, beyond the occasional Ma-ma and Da-da.

Words aside, Trixie is pretty vocal. She does a lot of moaning and mmm’ing when eating because she likes her food. Jenn and I don’t even hear it anymore, but apparently it’s pretty loud. We rediscover this every time we eat with other people. There’s always this moment where I look up and see that everyone has stopped eating and is staring at Trixie in slack-jawed disbelief. Some parents are embarrassed by this sort of thing — I look at it as taking the pressure off me. As long as Trixie is around, no one is going to walk away from dinner commenting on my dining habits.

Aside from mealtime mmm’ing, there’s plenty of humming that moves up and down in pitch, frequent sing-song la-la-la/ba-ba-ba, ecstatic screeching and the perennial favorite, ballistic screaming and yelling.

However, none of these verbalizations really translate into actual words. I’ve gotten to the point, I think, that I just don’t care anymore. We’ve worried enough about it for months, and the axiom that every child develops at her own pace is pretty comforting.

One reason not to worry is that there’s nothing wrong with her cognitive skills. She understands plenty, and has readily followed directions for months and months. We can ask her to go get her shoes if we’re going out, or to go dump some empty bottles in the recycling bin. Most recently, we can tell her to go get something to drink if she’s thirsty and she is able to go open the fridge and get out her milk or juice cup (depending on preference) which is now kept on the bottom shelf.

Many readers have suggested sign language as a way to bridge the language gap. We’ve tried. It took her forever to decide to even wave “hi” and “bye”. The only other thing she’s picked up is from a kids show where one of the characters celebrates Autumn by acting like a tree with out-stretched arms. This she can do. Trixie can sign “tree” no problem. “Trixie, tree!” Boom, arms go up. Also if she sees a tree, or we point out a tree, arms go up. This proves valuable in situations where Trixie needs to warn us that a tree is about to fall, or if she wants to climb a tree or if the squirrels are in the tree again.

I’m sure she’ll talk when she’s ready. As stated, I’m trying not to worry about it, but it doesn’t always work out. Today it caught up with me in a pet store while searching for kittens. Instead we got a giant parrot who kept loudly mocking us, “Hello!? How are you? Hello!” I wasn’t amused. We’re not going back until Trixie can bury that bird under an avalanche of profanity.

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28 Responses to Can Trixie Talk?

  1. Ella's mom says:

    Loved the story on Trixie’s sounds…and it’s timely because lately my husband and I have noticed how many of our friends have suddenly become so preoccupied with their child’s lack of verbal skills (although it’s sounds like Trixie’s got no problem being vocal!) The majority of our friends’ kids were nearly two, or sometimes two-and-a-half before you could understand a single word. Our daughter is almost 14 months, and verbalizes a lot, but also says a lot of jibberish. When we are out with other friends, they start comparing their children to Ella, and point out their lack of “words”. I wonder how much of this stress is conveyed back to their own children… it stresses us because we feel as if we have to apologize for our daughter being able to say “dog”. (She likes the word so much that she once pointed to everyone in Lowe’s and called them a “dog”.) So the lack of words may not be all bad…enjoy the funny sounds while she says them…at least she’s not talking back!
    ps. love the refrigerator trick!

  2. Katy MacNeill says:

    Are you getting a kitten?? I wish I could have one. I bet that would make Trixie happy 🙂

  3. Kelli says:

    One of the kids I babysit here is 2 1/2 and has just started really using words and stringing them together well, where you can actually understand them. I hadn’t seen him in a couple of months, but in that time, his verbalizing has really taken off.

    As you said, it differs so much for every child, just like all the other major milestones. Clearly she communicates, even if without proper ‘words,’ so, hey, whatever works.

    As for kittens…mine is 6 months old. I’m ready to take him back at the moment. I know he’ll calm down when he gets older, but he’s probably at his worst right now (and I’ve had him since he was 3 weeks). 🙂 My dogs’ behavior improved as they got older, so I hope the kitty’s will as well…

  4. benmac says:

    We were actually only looking at kittens. I love cats, but Lord knows I don’t need something else crapping all over the floor right now.

  5. Erika says:

    Ella’s Mom, I just love the idea of walking through Lowe’s calling everyone a dog. Since it is socially unacceptable for me to do it, I will have to count on teaching Jackson this trick as soon as he can talk.

  6. Kelli says:

    Ben – No, no, kitties are easily litter box trained. ‘Course, you still clean up a lot of crap. It’s puppies that are similar to young humans in their ability to leave surprises all over. 🙂

    Thanks for the laugh.

  7. Ella's Mom says:

    Erika… not only did she point and say “dog” she also “woofed” at them. Loudly. I think sound effects emphasize the point so much better.

  8. Rae says:

    Watch what you wish for! My daughter didn’t really start talking until she was nearly 3–but she hasn’t stopped since! She’s 24. 🙂 Rae

  9. Rubber-Sol says:

    Yes, like you said every child learns at his/her own pace. I know how hard that is to internalize as a parent, especially if you see other kids developing at varying rates.

    My daughter had me WORRIED SICK that something was wrong with her speech. We even went to a speech pathologist when she as 2 1/2 years old. They ran the battery of tests — hearing tests, picture recognition tests, following direction tests etc., While she wasn’t speaking all that much, she did incredibly well in them all. I was so relieved…and managed to relaxed a bit. She’s 4 1/2 now and talks a mile a minute! My son (who is now 2 1/2 ) seems to be following the same speech patterns. We did try the sign language with him, and he picked up on that pretty quickly. Neither child went through that “language explosion” that baby books so often talk about. Their growth was gradual and slow.

    I read somewhere that by the time children are 4 years old, their speech evens out (meaning they all pretty much speak the same amount). So from 1 to 4 years old, that’s a pretty big range. Okay, I’ll stop rambling!

  10. Kelly says:

    Is there any chance that we will be treated to a shot of Trixie doing her “tree” sign anytime soon? Love to see it!

  11. Char says:

    Oh boy, did you hit the nail on the head this time. Jack is just a few weeks younger than Trixie and we are in the same boat. I think it all went wrong when we were starting solids and I would take a bite and say, “See, Jack? MmmmmMMMMMmm!”. Now, he “MMmmmmmMMMMmmmmMMM”‘s through every meal. Like you, we tune it out at this point but the folks at Denny’s haven’t failed to make comments like, “Boy, he must really like those pancakes!”. Yes. Yes, he does. I feel like I’m constantly on the “teach” – “see the kitty Jack? K i t t y….kiiiitttttyyyyyy”. And Jack says, “uh-oh”. Go figure. I just keep reminding myself that in kindergarden, they pretty much all talk and none of them compare when they started because let’s face it, they are 5 and do not care. So, no pressure. I decided I’m going to enjoy these sweet little babblings because one of these days, we’ll be at the 527th “why?” of the day and I’ll long for these days.

  12. Rozanne says:

    Danny’s two weeks younger than Trixie, but he’s pretty much the same with his speech, too–with one exception: He says “oh, wow.” He typically says this while looking at trucks and/or cars. Had to take my car into the dealership the other day. While waiting for them to get it ready, Danny spent quite a bit of time looking at all the cars on the showroom floor and saying “oh, wow” over and over. The salespeople got quite a kick out of him…

  13. Maddie's Mom says:

    Maddie is two weeks older than Trixie. She does quite a bit of sign and she does say a few words (really useful ones like “goat”), but she babbles *constantly*. She’s a non-stop talker. One thing that she does (your eating sounds story reminded me) is HOWL. Yes. Like a dog. When does she howl? Whenever she hears a siren. We thank our labrador for this trick.

    I have heard that babies that crawl/walk early (like Trixie) tend to talk a little later. Maddie crawled/walked a couple of months later than Trixie, so it works for me!

  14. tj says:

    These stories are all great!! I can’t wait for my son to start talking. Right now he only babbles the mmmmaaaammmmmaa, bbbbaaaaabbbbaaa, dadadada (with his tongue between his teeth) and then there is the inevitable spitting sound, sometimes alternated with the blowing. He is 10-and-a-half months old. As for signing he can clap, but only with fists – and sometimes that means he is clapping, at others it means “more,” and then again it also signifies “I’m done.” Go figure.
    I’m sure it will be a while before this one talks because we are raising bi-lingual. So that will be interesting.

  15. Maggie says:

    As an eating “mmm-er” I’m glad to see another child who does it. I used to humm when I ate if I was especially enjoying myself, and at thanksgiving dinner this weekend, my twenty year old self started humming again 🙂 I’m not sure it ever goes away.

  16. Camille says:

    My mom says that my sister didn’t really start talking until she was almost three. According to her, my sister didn’t need to because I did all of the talking for her. 😉

    My 6 year old daughter started talking very young and even still is very verbally advanced. My son is 9 months old now and he doesn’t really do much but babble and squeal with an occassional growl. (yes, growl) His sister could say quite a few words at this point but his personality seems more laid back than hers. He isn’t as mobile as she was at this age either, which is perfectly fine with me. 🙂

    It’s pretty soon to say but I think my son will be leaning more towards Trixie’s side of the speech spectrum than his sister’s. I thought for awhile that he would be saying mama and dada with meaning but he kind of stopped with that for the time being.

  17. Francesca says:

    Please…my husband couldn’t wait for the kids to talk..now he cannot stand the constant babbling, singing, screaiming, whining….We have 3 yr old twins that I am home with. Honest, they will all walk and talk before they leave home. There is really NO RUSH! Think of it this way, the later they take up these skills perhaps the wiser they will be in using them.

  18. You SO can’t compare kids. I’ve been following Trixie since just after my Kidlet was born, as I was keen on seeing all the things I could expect from Keira as she reached the ages of Trixie’s milestones. Unfortunately, she’s a bit slower at certain things than Trixie. The Trixster was crawling at 6.5 months, mine’s 7.5 months and still ‘commando crawling’ only. As a baby, I was crawling at 6 months, standing on furniture at 7-8 months and walking at 9 months. Thought Keira would take after dear old Mom, but apparently not. But I’m not going to worry about it. It’ll happen in her own time. She WILL eventually crawl and stand and walk, just like Trixie will eventually talk.

    So I’d enjoy the silence while it lasts!!

  19. KC Lemson says:

    It’s funny, I’ve been dealing with a similar but opposite situation with my son – walking. He’s 16 months and just started walking in the last week. For months, we’ve been pestered by others, is he walking, is he walking, etc. Yet the whole time he was crawling around and babbling all of the different words (ball! outside! bubbles? etc), everyone said yes yes, that’s nice, but is he walking yet? 🙂

  20. John says:

    That Trixie has latched on to the “tree” sign means that you should keep doing the signs, even if she doens’t use them herself for a long time. Colum spent months doing only the “light” sign and the many other signs we’d use helped him understand what we were saying, but he didn’t use them. Now, suddenly, out of nowhere, he’s using signs we gave up on months ago – like he started doing the “car” sign two weeks ago even though we hadn’t been using the sign for months.

  21. Michael says:

    This all reminds me of my little sister. When she was a little older than Trixie she, my mom and I were checking out at the grocery store. The lady in front of us was unloading her cart and produced a bottle of pepto-bismol. My little sister spotted this, pointed at this poor innocent lady and yelled, “LOOK! SHE HAS DIARRHEA!”

  22. Laura says:

    As I was reading the comments, I thought of an interesting article that you guys might be interested in. Although it is a little outdated, the 30 million word gap is a great article about language acquisition: http://www.aft.org/pubs-reports/american_educator/spring2003/catastrophe.html.

  23. Greta's mom says:

    As yet another example of the fact that all kids develop at their own pace, my 11-1/2 month old doesn’t have a single tooth yet. Not even a swollen gum. (But since I’m still nursing, I’ve been considering it a stroke of good luck.) The crazy thing is that she’s been walking since 7-1/2 months!

    I suppose that’s one of the joys of pareting – witnessing your child’s own unique development.

  24. Kelli says:

    I used to babysit for two unrelated children, a boy and a girl, who were exactly a week apart in age. During much of their first year, their parents and I enjoyed watching how they reached milestones so differently – the little girl was walking well before the boy, but he was speaking well before she. He had a mouthful of teeth at 1 year, she had two. Her large motor skills seemed more well developed, but he could sit and stack the straightest block “building” you’ve ever seen. It was fascinating.

  25. dawn says:

    All kids are so different, but having been through the gamut with my little guy (hearing loss, speech delay, tubes, tubes falling out, new tubes, on and on) all I can say is, trust your instincts. Now I have two kids that talk non-stop, both difficult to understand because on es still a bit speech delayed and the other has lost most of her front teeth. I love being a Mom.

  26. Kristian's mom says:

    It’s so interesting being a parent for the first time. There is all kinds of ‘obsessions’ that we go through…I say we as I am definitely not exempt…like, the food, the sleep, the bodily functions, the mobility or lack of mobility, the speech or lack of the speech, etc.there is always something to focus on it seems. I suppose it never ends until your child leaves your home and then of course there a whole other set of issues to focus on. My little guy didn’t crawl until he was 10 months old, and he is not even close to walking at almost 13 months now. However like KC, he says quite a few words but for some reason everyone focuses on the walking. I’ve realized that they all get there in their own time and NOBODY crawled down the aisle at their wedding. It’ll happen just like Trixie’s talking. It’ll happen. All in its own time.

  27. Sarah says:

    I don’t have any children myself, but I have two nephews and a niece. My oldest nephew, Patrick (almost 4) started to really talk when he was about 2-2 1/2. His younger brother, Brendan (2 1/2) is talking very well and started around 1 1/2 because he had the help from Patrick. Their cousin, Emily (11 months) isn’t talking, but she’s making her own noises. She has a few words that are clear like mama, dada, no … and cat. My sister has two cats and Emily loves them. The last time I was out to visit, I could hear Emily crawling down the hall, shouting at the top of her lungs “Catcatcatcatcatcat!!!” I felt so bad for the poor cat. It was comical … you could almost see the fearful expression on his face as he ran to escape her.

  28. aidens momma says:

    sarah- we have 3 cats also and i sooo understand that look your talking about!! aiden crawls after them squeling ‘iddyiddyiddy’ lol. he has also named his stuffed animal fox ‘Iddy’. so it gets confusing when he’s screaming for ‘iddy’ lol. he’s almost 10 months old and within the last 2 weeks he has exploded with his vocabulary. his favorite thing lately is when you pick anything up he says ‘Aiddy?’. can you tell how spoiled he is! lol..everyone is right though, they do start talking/walking at their own rate.