Twinning: My Twins Took Forever To Start Talking & Then Called Everything ‘Cat’
Despite not having a cat, and despite me being a dog person, my twins genuinely seemed to love cats. So I bought them stuffed cats, books about cats, and adorable little black cat Halloween costumes when they were one and a half years old. I figured when they randomly yelled â€œcatâ€ everyone would just assume they were proud of their costumes.
For the most part I thought the cat obsession was cute, but I alternated between indulging the cat-love and trying to get them to correctly identify things. I bought cute framed prints of dogs for their nursery and Iâ€™d read them â€œThe Poky Little Puppyâ€ so we could get some more dog appreciation going. I remember eventually getting frustrated when they would point to things I knew they understood the meaning of (light, apple, ball) and say â€œcat.â€ They were smart kids, I was an attentive motherâ€”what was the problem here?
When your kids donâ€™t catch on with potty training, well-meaning people say â€œno kid goes to college in diapers.â€ When your kids donâ€™t talk, people start telling you â€œAlbert Einstein didnâ€™t talk until he was four.â€ This didnâ€™t help me. Maybe Einsteinâ€™s mother didnâ€™t hold him enough, maybe he was ignoredâ€”I donâ€™t know what his problem was, but I did know that I really didnâ€™t want to hear â€œcatâ€ for the next two years, and I imagine Einsteinâ€™s mother wouldnâ€™t have either.
At 20 months my twins were only saying a handful of words, so my pediatrician suggested I have them evaluated by an Early Intervention specialist. A wonderful speech pathologist named Rachel came to our house and did an array of tests by playing games and interacting with Nick and Allie. She was surprised by how much my children understood and I was secretly proud about that. Rachel was also kindly unconcerned when Allie rifled through her handbag and pulled half the contents out, and later refused to participate in any games once she found something she really liked. Apparently, that type of behavior scores big in â€œSelf Careâ€ and â€œAdult Interaction.â€
After our meeting, Rachel told me that my twins were exhibiting a 25 percent delay in speech and she wasnâ€™t concerned because their level of comprehension was so high. She said if they didnâ€™t have a major vocabulary burst within six months I should give her a call. I was happy that I never had to. Soon adorably-pronounced words like â€œcackaâ€ (cracker) â€œappumâ€ (apple) and â€œfwowieâ€ (flower) were being spoken in my house, and within four months my two were talking up a storm, making even that little guy Einstein look bad.