So just to recap, the boys are showing multiple signs of language delays, starting with the fact that they make no inferences about the world around them and ending with the fact that at 10 ½ months adjusted, they still do not know their names.
Granted, twins in general are usually slower at learning their names. This is not surprising, since identical twins are so often confused with each other. Our house is no different. Half the time Chiara calls Michael, “Wagner” and Wagner, “Michael.” The other half she calls Michael, “Isabel” and Wagner, “Jack.”
I’m no help, either. I call the boys “Sweetie,” “Buddy,” Dude,” and “Puppy-puppy.” Sometimes the boys are “Mister Michael” and “Mister Wagner” and sometimes the boys are “Mikey” and “Waggy.” For a time Matt called Michael, “Tiny Elvis” and Wagner was simply, “Spaceman.”
This lack of consistency no doubt adds to their name confusion. In fact, if Michael were to go on probabilities alone, he would assume that his Christian name is “Owbegentle,” as that is the utterance that is most frequently directed at him.
I’m starting to get concerned. I haven’t yet been able to talk to the speech therapist from our NICU Early Intervention playgroup because the boys have not been healthy enough to attend since November. They haven’t been that sick (except for this week—this week three out of four ears are infected and we have just been given a fancy 3-day second line antibiotic. Last night Mister Jack Wagner ran a 104.5 temperature). It’s just that the playgroup is all NICU grads—in other words, babies with fragile immune systems. To even think of attending when all three of us are less than 100% healthy isn’t just bad form; it’s dangerous for the other babies.
I talked to the speech therapist that is associated with our new developmental playgroup (one run by Chiara’s daycare). She’s very nice and very respected but had never met our babies before two Fridays ago. Her suggestion was to “bombard them with language” and she previewed for me a storm of sounds and “power signs” to help jumpstart our wordless tots.
And I decided that I didn’t want to take her advice.