Say something, I’m giving up on you – When your toddler won’t talk

Our two year old doesn’t speak.

That is to say – he makes noises by the bucketload (wonderful loud ear-blasting noises) – but no real words. We are all (the parent and grandparent committee) sure there is absolutely nothing to worry about. Nothing to worry about at all.

My partner comes home every day with a new tale of a colleague’s child who didn’t speak till they were six and now they’re going to Oxford University. So we aren’t worried. At all. Officially.

But off the record – I’m a tiny bit worried.

He makes lots of noises (usually at 3am).

He started off with Dadda. Clear as a bell.

He has said mumma once or twice. But I think that was really a fluke. I think he thinks it means “Ouch”.

One time he quite clearly said “Konnichiwa“.

But recently all he’s been saying is Gaga. Gaga to everything. (He’s a big pop fan).

The ‘Gaga’ is grandma – so that’s promising. Creep! But no other noises.

This isn’t troubling in itself – until I’m with other two year olds (and much younger) who can talk in very coherent sentences. SENTENCES. He socialises with two year olds who go to nursery (whereas my son doesn’t) so I say to myself that they have to talk to get what they want.

Whereas our son can grunt in an E flat minor and I know he’s done a small poo and wants the frosted Shreddies.

But there are some children I meet who don’t go to nursery – and can chatter away.

Sometimes we go to meet-ups and the tiny humans are liaising with each other like we are at a PR business breakfast, discussing the pros and cons of being a dinosaur – and my son is in the corner licking the giant floor jigsaw.

So then – what’s my excuse? “They’re better mothers than you!”

“They started reading books earlier than you did! Those babies only watch Baby Mozart! They eat Kale and linseed muffins with a side of homemade blueberry yogurt (brain food)! Those mothers/ fathers just engage more with their children! They watch less ‘Dora The Explorer’! They are just better stock” –  My head says.

About two weeks ago he started making an odd noise. A sort of gurgling, back of the throat sound while moving his mouth and tongue up and down. To try and describe it – imagine Donald Duck pretending to speak French on a phone when he knows no French. Over gesticulating the whole time.

A sort of “glurg-kkhhhk-warrrxxxx-grlorf-glorf-gigglic-gigglic-quar-QUAR!”

“Why is he making that sound?” My partner asked, exhausted, his ears bleeding, after two weeks of this noise. I thought about it for a while and said

“The only thing I can think of is that he thinks he sounds really cool? Like us?”

I walk around the park bellowing “There’s a tree…TREEEE!”

and that’s a flower – “FLOWEWEEERRR!”

and there’s a dog – “DOOOGGGGIIIIEEEE!”

Like a nut!

I read to him every night (and some in the day), the same books for repetition, again and again and again. I can recite ‘The Tiger who came for tea’ and ‘Monkey Puzzle’ right now to you. Without the book in front of me – word for bleeding word.

I talk to him constantly – but nothing seems to be working. (although he can say ‘car’).

I mean it’s not like we’ve kept him in a box or anything!

He has always been exposed to speech, noise, books, words, friends and family talking to him, cbeebies programs on repeat, Mr frickin Tumble! I’m an English teacher for feck’s sake!

Last weekend he was poorly. High temperature, off his food, generally listless and he stopped making that noise.

He walked up to me, sat on my lap and said, clear as day “oh… momma!”

Which makes me think – he does know the right words to get what he wants. They’re in there somewhere – lurking – waiting for the right time. And that one day he’ll decide that enough is enough and he’ll say:

“Mother, I don’t like that Aldi Cottage Pie, can I have the M&S Shepard’s pie from now on? And I’m not sold on that ‘Mike The Knight’ eegit either.” 


Two year old’s words to date:
– Dadda
– Mumma
– Konnichiwa
– Car
– Oh-oh
– Ah-ha
– Gaga

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Twitter – @sivitersteph





4 thoughts on “Say something, I’m giving up on you – When your toddler won’t talk

  1. Hiya I completely understand what this is like, it is so hard seeing other children chatting away saying sentences and your child is still struggling. I referred my son to speech therapy at 2 as he said nothing! He went and it was fun.

    I’m not sure if it made a big difference or if he was just ready later but his first words were when my daughter was crying as a newborn and shouted ‘baby on towel’ we were amazed he jumper to a sentence. Now 2 years later I cannot shut him up.

    If you are concerned speak to your Health visitor about a referal or you could wait till the 2.5 year check and they will tell you if he needs help. You may find he’ll jump, but it is more important that he understands.

    Their little brains can only learn and practice so much I can imagine you will find he has been taking a lot in, once my son could talk we realised he was ahead of his age group as he knew the alphabet, basic reading and number up to 20 but of course you don’t know when they cannot articulate.

    His learning has slowed down whilst he has improved his speech but it is all balancing out.

    It is frustrating but you’ll get there big hugs x x x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fear not! My three yr old was just the same. He said nothing except for ‘square, diamond’ and ‘asshole’.I even have video footage of it on my blog if you don’t believe me.
    He only properly started sentences about two weeks ago and he turned 3 in Feb. My oldest is 5 and was exactly the same. He didn’t say squat for years and now he doesn’t shut up. Ever!!!
    Mark my words..enjoy the peace and quiet! Not long before you are buying earplugs and screaming into a pillow at the irritation that is a constant talking tot. X

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Frogs, C$cks and Focks! | Up The Spout

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