3.16.2012

Two Year Old Stammering

Recently, my prodigious little 2.33 year old has taken to stammering his way through sentences. First it was “I’m gonna gonna. . .” and then he added a few more “gonnas”. Then, it was just “I, I, I, I. . . .”

While I suspect that it’s akin to that point in learning a foreign language when your brain goes faster than your limited vocabulary allows, it’s still kind of worrisome.

He talks A LOT! Last Sunday in church, he sat on the floor with a little 5 year old girl and talked her ear off about “saying a prayer” and about “going pee” and all sorts of hilarious things. Every day, usually while he’s in the bathtub, we review his day and he tells me what he’s done. Sometimes, if he doesn’t have the words to say what he wants, he’ll quote from one of the books we read often.

If and when he stammers, I don’t interrupt him or try to finish his sentences for him. I do, however, sometimes gently prod him with “think about what you’re trying to say”, which seems to help because he can usually complete his sentence after that. It’s like he has SO much he wants to say, but is trying to find the words to say it.

I googled “two year old stuttering” and found a couple of things that put my mind at ease.

Here’s what BabyCenter has to say:

"It's normal for your 2-year-old to go through a phase of stuttering, especially when you consider the fact that between the ages of 30 months and 5 years, kids are undergoing extremely rapid growth in their verbal abilities.

Technically, most kids this age don't have a true stutter — instead, they either hesitate when talking or repeat whole words or the first syllable of a word. Your child has these lapses when his brainpower outstrips his verbal dexterity. He may be extremely excited to tell you what's on his mind, or he may be tired, angry, or upset, so he can't get his words out easily. His rapidly developing brain is trying to pull up the right words in the right order. The result may come out something like this: "Mommy, Mommy, look at — look at that." If your child's stuttering continues to get worse, to the point where he's tensing his jaw or grimacing in an effort to get the words out, talk with his pediatrician."

And a pediatric expert from WebMD:

"Transient dysfluency (temporary stuttering) is typically seen in 2- to 4-year-olds. They usually are very verbal and often advanced for their years. The dysfluency results from their talking abilities going faster than the language centers of their brain. It’s as if their brain can’t catch up to their motor mouth, so it slows things down by repeating sounds over and over (i.e. by stuttering).

Stuttering is probably, at least in part, an inborn, genetic problem. There are lots of theories, but nobody really knows what causes it. Boys are about three times more likely to stutter than girls. When it comes to developmental issues, boys always get the short end of the stick!

Once your little guy’s brain catches up to his mouth, the stuttering will disappear. In the meantime, I wouldn’t make a big deal out of it. He’s too young to be very bothered by the stuttering, and if you get anxious about it, so will he, which may just make it worse. Continue to talk to him in a nice, slow, relaxed way and patiently wait for him to make his points. The odds are very good he’ll outgrow it in less than a year.

So I wouldn’t worry if I were you, but while I’m on the subject, let’s discuss when a parent should begin to worry about a child’s stuttering, which is seen in 1% of school-aged children.

Personally, I usually don’t worry about stuttering unless it’s still happening after the age of 4 years. Here are some things that would lead me to bring a child to a speech-language therapist’s attention:

• The child is very bothered and upset by the stuttering.
• The stuttering occurs in all situations, not just when the child is excited or nervous.
• The child seems to be struggling to get the words out, with an increase in the pitch of his/her voice.
• The repetitions are very frequent and very long.
• There are frequent prolongations or blockages of words and sounds.
• The child avoids saying certain difficult words.

We’ve all known people who stutter and we all know how hard it can be for the stutterer. The good news is:

1. Most kids get better.

2. Speech therapy helps. If you have any concerns about your child’s dysfluency, talk to your pediatric provider or find a good speech-language pathologist (the Stuttering Foundation of America can recommend one)."

It seems to be a passing phase, since he's already getting a little better, but these things are still good to know.

~Nichole

3.12.2012

No, But Really

I wasn’t kidding when I said the honeymoon is over. I’ve nearly passed out at church the last two Sundays. Sitting in metal chairs with a pregnant belly and little to no air flow does not make my body happy I guess. Apparently, this is just how my body does pregnancy in the third trimester. (Remember when I passed out twice at work when in my 3rd tm with C?)

Blah.

AND I have my glucose test tomorrow morning.

Is there no way I can pull a Rip Van Winkle and sleep for the next 10 to 12 weeks?

So long second trimester! I’ll miss you while I’m slogging through the swampy undertow of this last trimester, clawing my way to the finish line. At least I have "nesting" to look forward to. . .

~Nichole

3.08.2012

The Honeymoon Is Over

Hooray! I’ve made it to the third trimester!

Or, in other words, I am leaving the “honeymoon” phase and am now entering the “beached whale” stage of pregnancy.

Last Friday, I experienced the worst mixture of feelings I’ve yet felt in this pregnancy. It happened as I was standing at the Bass Pro feeding tank, the smile I had while watching my toddler point at the “big fish” still plastered on my face as I tried to remember the last time I had felt the baby move.

The resulting feelings were an awfully haunting mixture of panic and guilt, as I realized I hadn’t felt him move since earlier that morning, and it was now a full 12 hours later. I tried to soothe myself with the realization that we’d had an active morning that stretched into early afternoon. “But,” said my mind, “But! There were those 3 hours during naptime when you sat on the couch with your feet up and felt nary an internal punch or kick.

I tried not to let the panic or the guilt consume me as I made my way to my husband’s second home at the fly shop. Thankfully, he was calm under pressure, and suggested getting something sweet to drink and taking it easy for a bit. (In my mind I wondered how on earth he knew the textbook response. . . ) While we were en route to Sonic, the baby sent a telegram: SOS style taps and jabs to say “Hey! I’m in here! Hello!!!! (And, yes, something sweet to drink would be nice!)”

Phew! Relief!

Until a week ago, my body had procured for its retirement years a wide, flat piece of real estate between the bottom of my navel and the top of my pelvis. This bump has become somewhat of an interloper in that space. The retirement property is no longer flat now that my belly has ballooned downward and staked its claim. The baby’s finally decided to emerge from his hammock at the very very bottom of my uterus (under formerly flat real estate) and is staking out areas northward. I suppose now that he’s almost 15 inches long and weighs about 2.5 pounds, it’s time to find some more comfortable digs. I really don’t understand pregnant bellies and the babies in them. . .

Also? I’m really freaking tired! Like, REALLY! No matter how much I sleep, I’m tired. So tired. Each and every night I’m waking 3 or 4 times to go to the bathroom. And each and every time I find myself fully awake for seemingly no reason and then go “Oh. Bladder.”, I find myself lamenting the REMs I know I should be getting and knowing that somewhere, somehow my body’s keeping score on what it’s sacrificing to gestate this baby.

And then there’s the part where my OB is leaving his practice a month before my due date. Boo!

But mostly, there’s just this buzzy feeling as we enter the homestretch. It could be the shortest trimester of a pregnancy (9 weeks!) or the longest (14 weeks – hiss!), but it’s the one that feels most real, like the realization that “hey! There’s a baby at the end of all this!”. M’s getting so excited, which I think is exciting and kind of funny. Because he has no idea what we’re really in for!

~Nichole

"May you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world." -Ray Bradbury