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July 4, 2010

The Art of Delivery

(As in tact, not babies…)

I like our pediatrician, I really do. He is old enough to have considerable experience under his belt, but not too old. He is kind, but to-the-point. He is conservative in prescribing medicine. And he “specializes” in multiples…even in our small town, he sees about 25 sets of twins and triplets.

I had Baby A in a couple of weeks ago for a little rash on her face (caused by her current status as a Teething-Inspired Drool Factory). Our pediatrician addressed the rash, and – as always – asked if I had any other questions.

Of course I had other questions! I always have other questions! (Just a moment…let me unfold my list…)

I asked him about the girls’ tendency to voice only the first syllable of most words. “Bah” for “ball”; “Mih” for “milk”; and so on. I know what they’re saying because they also use the accompanying sign.

Almost before I finished my question, he said, “Oh, they’re under-stimulated.” He went on to say something about me staying home with them and understanding all their nuances. In contrast, if they were in daycare, they would likely be forced to develop better language skills to make themselves understood by a third party.

I may stumble over my own feet sometimes, but I rarely fumble for words…but I was taken aback and rendered almost speechless for a moment.

I understand the point he was getting at, but that’s not the response I was expecting. I was looking for a range of how many words a baby should have by the time she’s 18 months old, and the typical progression to those words…for a follow-up question on the girls’ comprehension…definitely something else than the response I got!

We have the girls’ 18-month check-up in a couple of weeks, and I’ll readdress this question then. I’ll be a little better prepared with some research in my back pocket, ready to ask follow-up questions, if necessary.

In the meantime, I feel like dropping back by the office for a little courtesy call. You don’t tell a mama who has committed her entire being to the well-being of her children that they’re “under-stimulated”.

I have a little deal in mind…if our pediatrician will give me his home number for my speed dial, I’ll gladly trade him for a few coaching sessions in tactfully approaching your audience.

Marketing 101.

(Linking up with Mommy of a Monster (I Mean Toddler) and Infant Twins for her new Word of the Week blog know this Bama girl does love her dictionary and her thesaurus! And if you haven't seen her blog, check it out...I love it, too!)


Rebecca said...

Sounds like pretty normal language development to me. I wouldn't worry about it...they're fine...

I don't like when someone who looks at kids every day takes such a blase attitude to how they say things to us, the parents, who don't deal with this every day...there needs to be a little more of a buffer in my opinion.

cat said...

Oh yes no bedside manners there. But to an extend it is true - friends of us had it with their first one. Try to ignore them until they express something better. Our little man L used to point at something and just say whatever. We and the nanny started to ignore it - a week later he used about 20 more words that he obviously knew, but never had to use yet. Although at 18 months I think they only have to have about 10 words apart for mom etc.

Sadia said...

Huh! How judgmental!

May I recommend that you call up your local university and ask to speak to someone in their communications/speech department? I have had lovely conversations with professors on my campus regarding "normal" oral-motor and language development that have put my mind at ease. Feel free to e-mail me if you'd like the name of the professor I spoke to.

Anonymous said...

this seems a little crazy to me. how could they be understimulated?? i'm interested to know how he answers at the next appointment.

MultipleMum said...

Bloody doctors. Very few are known for their bedside manner. I am a Speech Path. They honestly sound normal. 6 'words' at 18 months. 50 at 2 years. Putting two words together at 2 years. Final consonant deletion at 18 months is normal. Twins are often behind their singleton peers too. Rule of thumb though - if Mum is worried, then go and see a speech path. Unless your waiting lists are ridiculously long, I would leave it for now. Just keep talking to them. Break down your sentences into smaller 'sound bites'. "Oh. There is a car. A car. A big car. A red car. A big red car." That sort of thing so you can show them how to build sentences. Encourage them to speak e.g. don't give them a drink unless they 'ask' for it first. Write down the words they say so you can keep tabs on their development. That's what I think.

reanbean said...

Our pedi used to get me all worked up over Tiny's slow weight gain. He'd whip out her chart, show me how she was below the curve, and then use all sorts of mathematical equations to show me how it was only going to get worse if I didn't do something about it. I'd always leave there feeling so awful. And it took me over a year to feel confident in saying to him that I'm fine with how she's growing. Don't get me wrong, he's actually a great pediatrician- has called me at home from his vacation to address a major concern- but could sometimes deliver his messages more carefully.

We ended up calling our local Early Intervention organization when we had concerns about Buba's speech. They were (and have continued to be great) at helping us understand what is normal as far as all the developments go. You might be able to just pick up some pamphlets from them to get the information you're looking for.

liz said...

That's pretty harsh to say. Good luck at your 18 month check! My youngest is nearly 2 and her language has been a concern from the beginning, so I feel your pain.