Will speak for food

In my quest to get Tad to talk more, I have discovered the motivation that can force words out of his mouth.


We have been able to coax the word “coo-koo” (cookie) out of him spontaneously now, which is great, and now he has said “cup” a few times with prompting. But he said please last week, and I almost passed out.

He was getting his hair cut, and the stylist was quite sensitive to the fact that he is freaked out by the buzzers. She let him touch them so he would know that they wouldn’t hurt him, and he balanced a car on top of the buzzing guard. That made him feel better, and we got through the first use of the buzzers without any tears. However, he got really antsy while she was using the scissors, and the stylist offered him an animal cracker (they keep them in BIG plastic containers between each haircutting station). He stopped fussing. “Coo-koo!” he exclaimed.

“Can you say ‘please’?” the stylist asked.

Tad looked at her, and I could see the wheels turning in his head. “Eeze?” he repeated back.

I nearly fainted. The stylist looked at me. “Has he never said that before?” she asked. I shook my head.

With some more prompting, Tad has said “eeze” again, but last night he came begging for an after-dinner treat from me. He looked up at me with his big grey-blue eyes. “Eeze?” I was thrilled beyond words that he said it spontaneously.

He also repeated “book” a couple of days ago, but hasn’t done it since.

The Webmaster and I have been talking about Tad’s speaking ability, and thinking about Ane at this age. I pointed out the obvious differences – Ane is a girl, she was the firstborn, and she was a little parrot who loved to repeat things. At two, she still spoke her own “language” of gibberish, but she did have real words and many complete sentences, plus she had names for everyone. They may not have been correct, but everyone had their own name.

Tad speaks his own language, which we think is some pig Latin version of Jawa, and does have his stock question – “whas dat?” – that he says constantly. Walking with him through a parking lot is really funny. He keeps pointing at all the vehicles and saying “Car. Car! Caaaar. Car.” It’s the best thing ever to him. But his personality is not parrot-like – he will not repeat words. He just gives us his coy little smile that says “I know you want me to say it, but I’m not gonna.” And Ane does a lot of talking for him – and she has a vocabulary of a much older child, not a three-and-a-half year old. She ate a donut hole on Monday and said, “Oh, Mommy, this donut is delicious! It’s so tasty!” Auntie was there – she can vouch for me. And Ane has even noticed her brother’s lack of speech – yesterday, she said, “Tad, you say sorry to Ane (he hit her)!” Long pause. “Mommy, Tad doesn’t talk yet.”

The Webmaster, as we were talking last night, sighed at one point and said, “You know, I just want to be able to talk to Tad the way we talk to Ane. I just want to communicate with him and know what he’s thinking.”

Well, you do know what he’s thinking when he’s in a parking lot.

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