Butt-Man and Other Adventures In Toddler Speech Production (a 7QT post)



party, 1st day school 060 smallI came in from putting Julianna on the bus the other morning to find Michael wrapped up in the window sheers, wailing “Du-du! Du-du!” (that would be “Juju”) Actual ensuing conversation, with Michael lying on my chest:

Me: “Are you sad because you didn’t get to say bye-bye to Juju?”

Michael: “Yes.” More crying.

Me: “Oh, that’s sweet. It’s okay. You didn’t have your shoes on, honey. It’s cold outside.”

Michael (wailing): “Du-duuuuuuuuu!” (Insert several repetitions of the above.)

Me (going for distraction that doesn’t involve electronic screens): “Hey, we’re going to Tolton in a little while.” (The Catholic high school).

“Wal Mart?”

“No, Tolton.”

“Wal Mart?”

“No, Tolton. Does that sound like fun?”

Michael (wailing): “Nooooo! Tie!”

Me: “Cry?”

Michael: “Yes!”

And he does. Guess what did distract him in the end?

I’m telling you, this is the life.


Michael’s sketchy speech–very sketchy, considering how close to age 3 he is–leads to some hilarious and at times face-palm-worthy misspeaks.

Exhibit A: “Butt-man.” That would be “Batman.”

Exhibit B cannot be printed on this blog, but the sentiment is “thank you.” His th’s come out as f’s, and as you saw in Exhibit A, his short a’s come out as “uh.” You do the math.

(Update: this morning I said, “Good talking, little boy!” and he said, “Beee-boy!” As in “big boy.” So cute.)


Nonetheless, he is working very, very hard at speech production, and he is giving us spontaneous single words to try to communicate with us now. Context renders probably 2/3 of his attempts intelligible.


As he approaches age 3, we are starting to explore testing options through the public schools. Title 1 was the first avenue, but Title 1 preschools tend to be overcrowded with long wait lists. One of the PTs who worked with Julianna at Early Childhood Special Education suggested that I talk to ECSE about Michael. Yesterday we met with them to get the ball rolling. It was just an initial conversation; evaluation won’t happen for a few weeks yet. But it sounds promising. Many implications to spin out on that account, but I’m trying not to speculate on the shape of my life in a few months.


This has made me realize how strange it is that we have: a) two children in parochial school, b) one child in public school special ed and c) one child at the other end of the special ed spectrum in the gifted program. No wonder I’m pulling my hair out with paperwork. But we have a much broader sense of the education system than I ever anticipated I might claim.


My first flute recital since before I had kids is T minus two days!


Generally I don’t like videos that are more than a minute and a half long. I will make an exception in this case. Please give 4’26” of your life to watch this. This should end once and for all the delusion that people who are “other” than “typically developing” have poor quality of life and nothing to offer the world.

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes about cool vintage books, a radio studio in my home, and the only five things that really matter when you host a party

3 thoughts on “Butt-Man and Other Adventures In Toddler Speech Production (a 7QT post)

  1. I am enjoying age 3 (even though he is sometimes a “terrible” 3 or a “three-nager”) much more with Vincent than I ever have before. I think it is because of his speech and how he has come along. I love how he talks with me and recently, he started with the spontaneous, “I love you, Mommy.” He hears Helen and Dominic tell me I’m the “best mommy” and so he will tell me, too, sometimes, just to beat them to it. I love it.

    We just had Dominic evaluated for gifted. If they only took his reading/comprehension, he would be there as he tested 98th percentile. But, he was just high-average for math/computation…and in NKC school district, you have to be exceptional in both at the K-2 level to get in. We may have him evaluated again in 2nd grade for the 3-5 window if he’s excelling in Math. (Before now, Kindergarten, we never worked on math stuff….so I don’t think he had a clue how to do that portion of the evaluation.)

  2. Renee G

    I’ve been through the preschool speech drill more than once with my kids. You just go to your neighborhood school and request testing for speech. There is probably some paperwork. They must provide testing at 3yo since it the responsibility falls on them when he turns 3.

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