When your child is non-verbal you spend your days wishing and hoping that you will get to hear them speak. You don’t care what is said, a word, any word, will be the best word ever. Ethan’s first word was Daddy which is pretty common in speech development but still an amazing milestone for our little superstar. Ethan welcomed in 2014 with the word Hello, a word that thankfully stuck and really kick-started our vocal journey. A year later I was blessed with Mummy, a word that I longed to hear. When you are blessed with these continued words you begin to be brave enough to say that your son is pre-verbal. You keep everything crossed and hope and wish you are on your way to being verbal. There are still words and phrases that you long to hear and wonder if they will ever enter into the vocabulary. For me I have always wondered if and when Ethan will ever say ‘I Love You’.
The thing is lots of Ethan’s vocabulary has been taught to him so he will politely ask you how you are but not understand your answer. You could therefore say that he doesn’t really know what he is asking you. Darren knew that I was waiting for ‘I Love You’ so we did go through a time when I could hear Darren teaching Ethan to say ‘I Love You’. I asked Darren to stop doing this as I didn’t want these words to be forced and scripted.
Yesterday something different and unexpected happened. I always say goodnight to Ethan and tell him I love him before he goes to bed. Yesterday I called up the starts ‘Night, love you’ and Ethan returned my words with ‘Night mummy, love you’. The ironic thing was I didn’t notice until what he had said until after I walked away and then the penny dropped. I actually double checked what he said by repeating our good night words and Ethan again said ‘Love you’.
Now I know Ethan probably has no idea what the words ‘Love you’ mean but does anyone at that age? I also know that he is probably just mirroring what I’m saying but it’s a start. You never know one day he might just spontaneously announce that he loves me.