My older toddler has advanced verbal skills. He has a memory like a steel trap, and remembers every word he hears giving him a rather verbose vocabulary for a 3-year-old. He talked early and clear spitting words like "inappropriate" and "intelligent" at me in well-worded rebuttals to discipline. His little brother, on the other hand, is more typical. At 2-year-old he talks, but not everyone can understand. He much prefers a physical and direct approach to communication. He'll grab your face and point it towards what he wants and point if you ignore him. Many have suggested, and admittedly I've even worried, something may be wrong with his hearing or he may somehow be developmentally behind. There is nothing wrong with my younger toddler though. He and his brother are just different. They have different strengths and weaknesses-- that same verbally genius toddler has sub-par social skills and is clumsy, while his brother is a people magnet and very athletic. This situation has brought me to two important realizations as a parent I'd like to share.
Don't compare your kids.
I knew better than to outwardly compare my kids. Being a middle child I knew what I felt like to constantly be held against a sibling standard. If you won, there was jealousy to defend against, if you lost you felt defeated in your parent's eyes. You couldn't "win" in a real sense. I, however, never saw the harm in silently doing so until now. I actually for a time thought something was wrong with my perfect little boy simply because he wasn't talking at the same time his brother did, as clearly, or with as many words. It was wrong, and I was wrong. Every child develops different. Every child has different skills and tastes. Even in the same family. Don't compare your kids for your sake and theirs, especially in the early stages.
Milestones are variable
From baby to toddler the point where a child "should" do something is pretty variable. If you actually find reputable sources, such as speaking to your pediatrician, you'll find generally there is not just a set month your child will start doing something as if a switch is turned on. Instead it's more of a broad normal range, a watch-out range, and a something is probably wrong range. The normal range for most milestones is long, in cases, years long. Maybe my other toddler hit the speech milestone sooner than his brother, maybe most toddlers do, but looking at the actual facts, my younger toddler wasn't behind. I should have been defending him when people suggested he was, not worrying myself.
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