I woke up yesterday morning to a surprise. Quentin was tugging my arm, trying to get me to wake up. No, that part was not the surprise… he does this on most mornings. The surprising part was what came out of his mouth as I tried to ignore his physical request: “Ready, set, GO!” he exclaimed.
My eyes flicked open. Did he just… TALK? Unprompted, real, WORDS? And words that made sense, in this context? Holy cow! What an incredible wake-up call! I jumped out of bed.
This kind of thing is happening more and more, and it is both exciting and amusing. Just a few months ago we were thrilled whenever Quentin used a single word spontaneously, without any prompting. “Milk!” he would say, and we would praise him for asking for something, but then prompt him to say it in a sentence, like “I want milk, please.” He could always mimic us, but it was rare that he would spontaneously use a sentence on his own.
I have had such low expectations for his language abilities at this point (he is five and a half years old now), that I quite honestly never thought he could ever talk in sentences. I was sort of getting used to the idea that these one-word commands were what we were going to be dealing with the rest of his life.
But suddenly… sentences! First, he started using the “I want…” part of the sentence on his own. It’s gotten beyond that, though. What I’ve noticed is that his language does not come out casually, but in cases where he is either really agitated or is desperate to communicate his needs. The “ready, set, go” example is one of those instances, as I was trying to ignore him in an attempt to get some more sleep. But there are similar instances when he spoke during an agitated moment:
- He was fighting over a toy with Fiona. It was physical; they each had their hands on the toy and were tugging. Suddenly, he exclaimed, “No! It’s mine!” Fiona dropped the toy and he won.
- An early morning, I was attempting to get Quentin ready for the school bus. He still had to get dressed, but he had not finished his breakfast. I pulled off his pajama top but he had a fit. He sat down at the kitchen table and exclaimed, “Time to eat!”
So while these are amazing advances for him, they are always hard to celebrate in the moment, as he tends to be quite agitated when he speaks. It’s an odd problem to have. We want to encourage and praise him for these great strides, but we don’t always want to praise the behaviors that are going on when this language occurs.
Nonetheless, I am thrilled. He truly is a great kid. Quentin never ceases to amaze me.