For a long time, Ethan wasn't very verbal. He babbled at the *right* time and he managed a "mamamama" and a "dadadada" right on cue, and with his daddy obsession (whatever), he's been chanting "dada" for months and months. But other than "dada", there was a long stretch of time when "vroom vroom" (the noise, not the words) and "guh-gah" ("kitty" in Ethanese) were the only words he said.
I sat and watched as my girlfriends' children (all younger than Ethan and all girls, who I know are chatty much earlier) started saying "baby" and "please" before a year old. One of the girls is now working on her dissertation, I believe.
I tried to pretend it didn't bother me that kids 3 and 4 months younger than him were waxing poetic about mama and babies and balls, while Ethan pointed and said, "guh-gah" at any cat that walked by, but there were days when I drove home from play group with Ethan's lack of language weighing heavily on my mind.
I read a lot about a language explosion between 15-18 months, so I waited patiently. There was no explosion. We continued to hear a lot of "dada" "vroom vroom" and "guh-gah".
I will admit that one day I opened up the Mayo Clinic website's autism page and had myself breathing into a brown paper bag within a matter of seconds, completely convinced my child was living in that world. I watched like an OCD hawk for signs of interaction and name recognition until I had to just tell myself to chill the fuck out. Anyone who's spent more than 5 minutes with Ethan knows that he's not autistic, but just wasn't talking.
But here we are, about a week shy of 20 months and Ethan cannot stop the words. He now says a fully recognizable "kitty", "mami" and "papi" (in addition to mama and dada), "all done" "eat" "eye" "ear" "car" "choo-choo" "tree" "leche" "agua" "puppy" "bye bye" "hi" "Emi" (his aunt), "puzzle" "muffin" "egg" "cheese" "please" "thank you" "yummy" and I know I am leaving a ton out, as he repeats every third word out of my mouth (which is why I make sure only the first and second words are obscenities).
I realize these are not feats of genius. I realize that these are tiny words and he's not yet embarked upon his Master's thesis or anything like that. Perhaps and 20 months he *should* be saying more. Eh. Whatever.
I find that I'm far more willing to let go of the "should"s these days. I'm too busy basking in the sound of Ethan's voice.