Yesterday in the grocery store a mom pushing a shopping cart with a 4-year-old in it came rushing towards me.
“Hi, how old is your son?” she asked. I was assuming she was new in town looking for a mom friend or play-date.
“Hi, he’s 4,” I said. “And he likes cheese!” he was on his second piece. The deli guys LOVE him.
“My daughter is 4 and only says 20 words. Is that OK? Does your child talk?” she asked.
“Mommy, I am very thirsty after all that yellow cheese, may I have a juice box, please?” he asked while reaching into the cart for the reduced sugar juice boxes.
I pushed his hand away and looked up at the Mom, feeling frazzled. Her face was concerned. I didn’t know what to say. I’m not a Pediatrician or speech therapist. I’m just a single Mom.
“Um, yes, he talks a lot,” I said. (I wanted to say, he never shuts up, but didn’t think it was appropriate.)
“Well, when did he start,” she asked.
“He was pretty quiet until 2 ½,” I said.
“But my daughter is 4 and isn’t talking in sentences,” she said.
JD was now asking the deli guys for “a slice of thin turkey with no brown on the edge.” He thinks it’s a buffet. Like I said, they LOVE him.
“Have you brought this up to your Pediatrician?” I asked innocently. Honestly, I didn’t know what else to say. I didn’t feel comfortable analyzing her blond-haired child or even giving my opinion, even though I give it here all the time! I mean, part of my job is to share my opinions on parenting topics.
“I did and he said kids develop differently and maybe she’s just shy,” she said. Then she just looked at me for answers. She needed to be reassured. I felt bad.
“The hospital in our town has a great speech program. Maybe you can take her for a little checkup or something,” I said.
“Do you know what insurance they take?” she asked. (OMG)
“I know they take Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of NJ,” I said. “Look, my son’s first word was ‘Da-Da’ and I’m a single mom. His second word? ‘Bubble.’ I don’t even recall the magic moment when he said ‘Mama.’ Try not to stress, but go with your gut. If you think something is up, I say go to the speech center at the hospital.”
I don’t remember how I got to the produce section, but I did.
“Mommy, can we buy watermelon?”
When did your kids start talking? Have you ever been asked for parenting or medical advice?