Childrearing

Twinning: My Twins Took Forever To Start Talking & Then Called Everything ‘Cat’

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twins talkingHaving twins can be the most amazing experience of your life. It can also cause you to wake up in the morning wishing you were someone else. Twinning offers an honest depiction of life with twins from a mom who tries to keep things somewhere in the middle.

When my daughter Allie said “Mama” at only seven months old, I was probably the proudest mom on the planet. Seven months old! She was obviously a genius. And she didn’t just say it once—she said it over and over for about an hour, long enough for me to videotape it so I could prove to all my relatives that I had one of the smartest babies in the world.

Then Allie didn’t say “Mama” or anything else for months. Both my twins didn’t really start speaking until they were two years old. When they did talk before that, all they basically said was “cat” and we didn’t even have a cat.

By the time they were 10 months old, both Allie and Nick were babbling “mamama” and “dadada” but still not saying words with meaning. My mom thought it was helpful to point out repeatedly that I started talking at nine months, but I wasn’t worried. I’d read and heard from many twin-mom friends that twins start talking later than singleton babies and sometimes only speak in a language the two of them understand. I was okay with waiting.

When he was a year old, Nick learned how to whine “Mom”—he’d really drag it out and pronounce it a little like the character Cartman in “South Park” does: “Maaaam.” For a few weeks, it was the first thing he’d say when he woke up, and it was the first thing I’d hear on the monitor in the morning. I have to admit that I didn’t mind waking up to it—when your kids aren’t talking, you take what you can get.

Then when he was 14 months old, Nick replaced “Maaaam” with “cat” and he would say it all day long. Any animal he’d see was a cat. After a few days of listening to his cat-centric talk, Allie figured it was a good idea and joined him in calling everything a cat. We’d be outside and see someone walking their dog, and they would yell “CAT!” I’d show them flashcards that had pictures of keys, a ball, a baby, a cat, and for every one, Nick would say “cat.” Naturally during the first few weeks of this cat-talk, I would correct them, saying “That’s a doggy!” or “That’s a ball!” but every time I did, they would just shout me down with “cat!”

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