Tuesday, March 24, 2009

henry the octopus

Soon after our triplets began talking, I realized that the theories I had heard about girls speaking sooner and with more clarity than boys, was erroneous.

At least in our case.

In our home, William was talking up a blue streak before his sisters were able to string a sentence together. Even now, he is the primary "talker" in the group. Whenever we sit down to dinner, or take a drive in the car - William will give a running commentary on anything and everything that comes to mind.

Unless he is sleeping ... he is talking.

And talking.

And talking.

And whenever I don't understand something that the girls are trying to tell me, I'll ask William to translate. Because although I may not understand what my girls are attempting to tell me, their triplet brother always does.

When the kids had their four-year checkup in October, our pediatrician commented that there was a notable difference in the linguistic ability between our children. I told him about my observations and I added that although I wasn't overly concerned, I did think that perhaps an evaluation by a speech therapist might be necessary. I then added that I love to hear the girls babble on because I think they sound adorable. But I want to be certain that any language delays, are diagnosed sooner than later.

Our pediatrician made a referral and this past month the girls had their first speech therapy evaluation. (It took that long to get them in.)

Carolyn had a few issues with pronunciation. But for the most part, the therapist believed that with time, her language skills will mature. Elizabeth on the other hand, had some significant issues with articulation and various letter combinations.





And any combination where the word "R" is involved.

Once a week for the next several weeks, we will bring Elizabeth in for a speech therapy session. And we've been instructed to work on various phrases and words at home.

The other morning while I was working with Elizabeth, I noticed that Henry was reciting back everything that I said to his sister. So I picked up my video camera and filmed this clip. (And even though I've watched it 20 times, it still cracks me up. Especially the "Heh?" mid way through.)

Something tells me it's just a matter of time before he is out talking his big brother.


  1. Jen,
    I can't tell you how badly I needed to read this post today! I've been freaking out about my gang not speaking yet. They're 19mo and everyone...EVERYONE has made comments about their lack of words. So I've pushing pushing pushing everything: cup, ball, nose, belly, mommy, daddy, zoe, you name it...i've been saying it. Like a crazy woman. TIME. That's it...TIME! And eventually...if they need to be evaluated...they can be. It's not the end of the world. So...thank you. And I can't wait to see how your girls progress. Maybe if they could tackle their brother...sit on him...they'll get a word in! =)

  2. That is too cute! My daughter is one month older than Henry. Their "Bye" sounds exactly the same. Too funny. But Henry is light years ahead in anunciation. My daughter is just starting to say two-syllable words. Her first was Poopey. Now she can also say All Right - thanks to my DH. :)

    Great job, Henry!

  3. My 3 year old goes to speech therapy twice a week for her articulation. No delays just artic.

    I hope that the services there are as great as they are in Texas. I have been nothing but pleased!! After just a month my daughter is making HUGE strides. It's so exiting for us and her. She can now say "banana" vs. "mina" and so many more.

    Good luck. I'm sure you just need a few helpful hints for stuff you can work on at home and she will be right up there with her siblings!

  4. Very cute! With the somersaults and now speech. He is amazing! I do believe he thinks he is four. Heh!
    Does he want to hook up with Whitney Houston? Come on over and check her out singing I will always love you!

  5. Wow! You go Henry! That video is too cute.

  6. You say it wrong it's APPLE-PUS!
    Very cute.

  7. My twin boys were late talkers, so I was astonished when my daughter started saying words at around 15 months. And now, at 21 months, I can't even count the number of words/phrases she says. She is probably where my boys were at 2 1/2 to 3 years old! It's amazing how much "older" she seems then my boys did at each stage. Nothing like having a houseful of older siblings to speed up the process of growing up!!!


  8. He is so cute! Loved the video. My son was watching it with me. I should tell you THANK YOU. He now pronounces OC-TO-PUS correctly. He he.

  9. The "Heh?" in the middle made me crack up too:) Try "gorilla" next. When my son says it, it sounds like "go-willwa".

  10. He is ADORABLE! I like the way he keeps shouting it at you 'Mum, I'm saying it! Can't you hear me!'.

    My cousin had speech therapy when he was three or so; he had tremendous difficulty with the 's' sound. For instance, sock was 'gock'. He recognised the sounds, though - if you said to him 'where are your gocks' he would say 'not my gock my GOCK!'

    I'm sure Elizabeth will really enjoy her speech therapy, although I suspect that she will hate the word oc-to-pus by the end of it...!

  11. That Henry is so cute - ALMOST makes me want another one (key word - almost).

    If I re-read my own BLOG today, I will know I am done and that is only an emotional response to the cuteness - lol

    Anyway, did he not get the memo that he is not 4?


  12. I remember when we first moved to SC and my two babies werein first and second grade, the principal said they both needed speech therapy. So, being the devoted Mother, I took them to the professional. after three sessions, the theripist said, "what state did you say you were from
    ?" Suffcient to say, No more speech therapy. Keep at it, your doing great, forget the "R's" real new englanders don't need them.

  13. Hi Jen,
    This is the anonymous Skins fan from Australia. I'm in my 4th and final year of speech pathology at university so I thought I'd offer some info. Many people don't understand that we treat speech, i.e. articulation, and language, i.e. how you compose sentences - largely grammar and vocab.
    And it is true that girls have less issues developing speech and language as I believe there is a ratio of 3 or 4 boys for every one girl that comes to see a speechie.
    In relation to Elizabeth, I cannot understand why the speechie would want to work on the speech sounds and blends you stated (excepting 'ch'), given her chronological age and especially considering her corrected age. Here is a very simple factsheet from SPA (Speech Pathology Australia) that outlines the ages at which kids develop/master most sounds:
    2%203%20-%20The%20Sound%20of%20Speech.pdf. The American Speech & Hearing Association (ASHA) may also have some factsheets re: speech sound acquisition.
    Basically, kids aren't expected to say 'r' or 'th', until around age 6-7. Blending sounds, e.g. 'st' also develops later as it's a tricky thing to do. When kids have trouble with a tricky sound, e.g. 'r', they will say an easier sound instead, e.g. 'w' for 'r', or they make not say that sound at all, i.e. red could be pronounced as 'wed' or 'ed'. It's when kids delete the initial or middle sounds, and final sounds after age 3;6 that speech therapy is recommended.

    It's also good to model an incorect pronounciation back to kids to see if they can self-correct, e.g. Child: I'm patting a fluffy TAT. Mum: You're patting a fluffly TAT? Child: No. A fluffy CAT. Mum: Oh, you're patting a fluffly CAT. Good talking. That was an excellent 'k' sound! Note the really specific feedback, not just 'good talking'.
    However, this strategy will only work if the child can say the sound, if not then they need to learn how to make the sound and that's where speechies come up with some fantastic games, and sounds get names - e.g. 'd' is the drum sound, 's' is the snake sound, 'ch' is the train sound, etc.

    In case you can't tell I get very excited when talking about speech. If any of the above info. doesn't make sense or you would like any simple speech strategies or games let me know, and I can send you an email. Sorry this is so long.

    Best of luck with speech therapy with Elizabeth - I'm sure both you and her will have so much fun, and she'll be making improvements in no time.

    PS. I can't stop laughing at Henry's face when he says 'heh'. Too cute!

  14. How cute is he???? That "heh?" made me crack up too!