I think it was right about the 15 month pediatrician visit with Pete that I started to panic. He didn't say anything at all and everyone else's baby was babbling away. Okay, so really, I only knew about 3 babies, but they were all saying much more than Pete.
I worried, and googled, and discussed with the pediatrician. We already read books together before bed each night, but now I spent hours with the book saying "doggie" and "kitty cat" and praying for him to respond. Ryan was slightly more successful getting Pete to repeat sounds, though Pete was more likely to say "foo foo" instead of "woof woof" for the dogs. I considered early intervention, but we decided to wait until he turned two.
At 20 months, he had a few single words and one phrase "Hi, you!" We had worked for months saying "baby" and "mommy" in preparation for Chester's arrival. It took hours of practice with chocolate candy as a bribe to say "more please!" Then Pete bloomed between 20-24 months. He quickly caught up and surpassed his peers and the "expert" guidelines for speech development. Looking out the window, he started stringing together sentences like "See big truck, woo woo!" when weeks before it was more likely for him to say "oooooooooooooahhhhhhhhh!" while hysterically pointing to the firetruck. After all those months saying "baby" and pointing to pictures of babies, when Chester cried, Pete directed him to "say UP baby!" because we always told Pete so say "up" and not just cry if he wanted to be picked up.
No longer on the slow side of the language learning curve, Pete started absorbing things I didn't need him to learn. We'll start with all those words I yell while driving in the car. Now when I start getting upset on the road, he asks me if the "cars are being bad, Mommy?" and I quickly zip my mouth! Before I learned to mute my GPS, Pete listened carefully and put his new knowledge to good use telling Chester "no no baby, make a U-turn" as Chester headed for Pete's toys in the playroom.
There are a few phrases that I know he'll grow out of, but I'm holding on to them as long as I can before he grows up any faster. While learning to be gentle with the dogs, I said "Pet Hudson gently" over and over. Now when he's going to sleep, Pete often requests that I "Pet Pete" and I'll sit by his bed a while to rub his back or his head. If petting is not enough, he may request "Pete snuggle you?" for some additional cuddling. I know the time will come when he no longer asks to be snuggled.
Pete has even used his new verbal prowess to outsmart Mommy. As all men (and especially two year old boys) do, Pete was sitting on the couch with his hands in his pants. I told him he couldn't have his hands in his pants in the living room, that was private and he could do it in his room if he wanted. Minutes later, he returned, naked from the waist down and declared "I no have pants on" and went back to playing with himself. Sigh. You got me there, kid, I'll phrase it more carefully next time.
So as Chester approaches 15 months and is more likely to squeal, point and cry than tell me "more" or "all done" I'm slightly less inclined to push the issue with the pediatrician this time. I figure he'll talk eventually and then I wont be able to get him to hush. I don't think of my kids as late talkers, I prefer to think they're saving up their words to make smart-ass remarks later in life.