Words have not come easily for Aja. She communicates in shrieks and screams and gestures. We have a tendency to baby her at times because there’s a natural inclination to think that she doesn’t understand what is being said or asked of her. But she gets it. She knows what she can get away with and she’s milking it for all it’s worth.
I attended the first of a two-part language class for babies and toddlers that have language delays, thinking that this would help me help her. But much of what was discussed was about determining if there was comprehension happening, and we have that. We know when she wants more of something (scream A), when she wants a toy that Jocelyn has snatched from her hand (scream B), and when she is hungry/tired/pissed/uncooperative/has-a-stick-up-her-butt (high-pitched screech).
Then one day she answered YEAH to my question. And then NO. She said HI. And then she said MAMA. Clearly. Not the baby-mumble-rambling, but clear as day: MAMA. She continued to say it often, every day.
But I soon noticed something. There was a certain time of day when she said it more often than others—when Khary got home from work. He arrived home the other day and she bounced up out of her seat on the couch, running haphazardly around the corner and through the kitchen to get to him. She screamed at the top of her lungs, over and over: MAMA! MAMA!
She is referring to him.
I find that sometimes words are overrated.
*From the Anne Sexton poem, "Words."