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


Adventures In Speech Production (and other kid-ness)


J Kindergarten from BartkoskiSunday morning, exhausted after weeks of sick kids and bad nights, we decided…gasp!…to sleep in and go to late Mass. So 8:45 a.m found me on the Nordic Track, attempting to multi-task the time as brain-quiet time. I knew better, of course. Julianna stepped lightly into the room in her white-and-purple dress, her boots on the wrong feet, carrying a book, and held it out to me. “Wee boh?”

“Book,” I corrected.


“When I’m finished exercising. But it’s going to be half an hour.”

She stood and watched me for a minute, then let out a long stream of jibberish I couldn’t follow. But I caught the words “wa bee bah,” which is watch baby signing times, which is code for “I want a video.” The rest, however, completely escaped me.

She kept repeating that “rest,” however, for the next six hours. Clearly she was trying to communicate something, but “Pee-poh Jah-yu-yigh” did not ring any bells. “People?” I kept asking, and she’d shake her head.

In the afternoon Alex and I went out for a while, and when we came home, among the madhouse that met me at the door was Julianna carrying this:

Christian gave me a wry grin. “That’s what she wants for a movie today,” he said, and Julianna said happily, “Pee-poh Jah-yu-yigh!”

Purple Jazzercise.

(Disclaimer 1: this video was a gift.

Disclaimer 2: there is nothing “burlesque” about this DVD except their annoying tendency to say that every body part is “sexy.” Last week while I was snowed in, the kids alternately watched and danced with me to this and my other workout DVD.)

This reminds me of the last time Julianna desperately wanted to communicate something to me. Another stream of unintelligibility she kept repeating for hours as I wracked my brain and came up with nothing. “Yi-yi wah-oh.” Finally she signed “pool,” and I caught it: swimming lessons.

They weren’t sure their IQ tests were quite accurate this year when they did the re-eval, because she can’t talk. Until now, she’s been pretty easy-going and didn’t have a lot of trouble communicating, because her desires were pretty basic. Now, however, she really wants to talk, and does. It’s a good thing, but hoo-boy, it’s a brain stretcher!

Now, on to the “other random kid-ness” I indicated in the title:

Item 1: Apparently from here on out, thunder snow is the norm for mid-Missouri.

Item 2: What with President’s Day, an intestinal virus, and eleven inches of snow, Alex and Nicholas went to school one day last week; Julianna went two. Our street never did get properly cleared, and now we have another several inches dumping on us again…and another snow day.

Item 3: After last week’s lackadaisical attitude toward closures caused havoc on local streets, everyone is gunshy, and the entire city has closed down: busses, schools, universities….doctors’ offices…

Item 4: Which means it is time for Nicholas to wake up crying at 5:30 a.m. after three days of runny nose…because his ear hurts.

You’ve met a character named Murphy, haven’t you?