Yesterday, we were in our typical morning rush to get the children ready and off to preschool and daycare and get ourselves to work. I was in the kitchen preparing breakfast when Greg came flying down the stairs with Raphael.
“Watch this,” he said giddily as he prompted Raphael to demonstrate his latest trick.
“Baaall!” Raphael said with a huge grin, and he started clapping for himself (which is one of my favorite things about him). We all bounced around the kitchen with joy and asked Raphael to repeat his first clear-as-day word over and over again.
It is the cutest thing the way he purses his lips for the “B” sound and rounds out the vowel as if he’s saying “bowl.”
I am so in love with my boy’s voice, finally.
I think “ball” was Elijah’s first word, too. Of course, he was less than a year old. Raphael is almost 28 months.
This has been a long time coming, and that makes the joy of Raphael’s hitting this milestone that much richer.
It is fulfilling (and relieving) to know that our quiet boy is going to try to talk and that people outside his immediate circle may be able to understand him. Raphael already enthusiastically uses dozens of ASL signs to communicate, but sadly, the rest of the world doesn’t.
We’ve been diligently trying to get Raphael to use his mouth to intentionally make sounds and talk since we began speech therapy for him when he was just three months old. We incorporate therapeutic speech techniques throughout the day every single day.
He routinely makes funny animal sounds although you might never guess he’s mooing, trumpeting, roaring, and oinking to mimic a cow, elephant, lion, or pig. All of his previous word attempts sounded suspiciously the same. He could already say “hi” and “bye;” they both sound like “aay!” He occasionally uttered “Elijah,” which sounds like “Ay-ya-ya,” and “I love you,” which sounds like “Ay-ya-ye.”
But yesterday, the “Bs” bounced off his lips like never before with the word “ball.”
Yep, we’re having one.
p.s. I’ll try to post a video of Raphael saying “ball” in my next update…
In honor of Down syndrome awareness month, I am trying to post to this blog every day for 31 days (or at least 31 times in October) to increase awareness of Trisomy 21, the genetic condition that causes the syndrome.