Saturday, March 19, 2011

From the Mouth of My Babe

In the last 5 months or so, our girl has found.her.voice. In a big way. And we love it. Love it. Just as I'll never wish her still, I'll never wish her quiet. I still find myself surprised when I'm driving and I accelerate fast or (sort of) slam on my breaks (hey, it happens!) and I hear a "WHOAH!" from the back seat. Lately, she's mocked me saying "No Way!" and "Oh My God!" and each time, I practically die inside.

She's also learned quickly that her words can get her exactly.what.she.wants. Like when I tell her "no more" of something and she quietly says, "I wah more pea" (for "I want more please."). And last night, it was "I wah dada pea." We melt. And at night, as I put her to sleep, I usually say, "do you want to hold my hand?" and take one of her hands. Lately, she always says, "TWO!" and reaches for both of my hands. Melt.

It's both fascinating and frustrating to me to learn that Sammie B's low-tone has such an affect on her speech . . . that it affects her ability to motor plan and get the words out, but also to get them out the way she wants them to sound. We've noticed that Sam tends to enunciate each and every syllable of a word (like "BAH-na-na") and to leave consonants off the ends of words too. And I recently learned (from both her PT and ST) that this is likely just because of her low tone. Why you ask? The lower the muscle tone in the trunk, the lower the breath control. You have to have enough muscle tone to (1) hold yourself in an upright position and (2) take in a deep breath and control the release of it in conjunction with the words you are trying to produce. So we keep plugging away at our PT and ST exercises, and just reveling in Sam's new voice.

She's also using her voice to assert herself with some pretty firm "no dudes!" to anything the poor dog tries to do. We were happy when she was doing it to get him to NOT take her food, but now, she may be overusing her authority! Yesterday, B had to tell her, "Dude IS allowed on your bed." She's just asserting pack order, I guess, but the poor dog doesn't know what to do with himself.

Bossing the dog around isn't the only way she's showing she is, after all, two years old. Sweet Sammie B has started getting in trouble! In fact, we've had to cut TWO bathtimes in a row short because she wouldn't listen to me and stop laying down in the water (and giggling like its nobody's business). I struggle not to laugh in those moments as I watch her challenge me, challenge authority, and laugh.

She's showing her stubbornness at therapies too. The PT that does her hippotherapy always tries to get Sam to tell the horse to "go." Lately, all Sam says when asked to tell the horse to go is a very enthusiastic "no." So, last time, the therapist said, "okay, should we just stand here all day?" To which Sammie B replied, with a half-smile and a twinkle in her eye, "yeah!".

Oh my sweet Bean. You make me giggle. Every day.


Anonymous said...

Well that is just the cutest thing ever. I desperately want to see her in action, and should you *happen* to get a video of her chatter, you must post. Sammie B, it's too cool that you can tell your Mama what's what :)

Kristen said...

Needed to read this tonight. We were discussing speech therapy and how we've gotten NOWHERE...and wondering if we should continue. I'm still holding out hope that P will find his voice.
I'm so glad sweet girl has found hers!

Kelly said...

it thrills me to read that Sammie has found her voice and you guys are experiencing the wonderful world of 2 year old rebellion and assertiveness! I do the same thing that the therapist does - do you want to do this or nothing? - thinking I am all smart, and Lexi always sasses me back - NOTHING. sigh. It's an oxymoron: so delightfully frustrating!

Gina said...

I wish I was Sammie B's SLP.

What does she say about oral-motor exercises? It's kind of a hot topic...people usually feel very strongly one way or the other (I'm torn, honestly) so I'm just curious. I wonder if her tone issues affect her articulatory tone too.

Love the new pics. Keep 'em coming!

Momttorney said...

Gina, Sam's SLP isn't in the oral motor exercise camp except for kids with obvious mouth-tone issues (like open mouths, drooling) which Sam doesn't have. In fact, when she first started working with Sam, I would say, "I know tone affects speech," but she would say, "yeah, but she doesn't seem to have low-tone in her mouth," which frustrated me. And, then I came to understand that you don't have to have sort of the obvious "low-tone" in the mouth thing going on for overall low-tone to affect speech. So, we haven't really done oral motor exercises (other than like blowing bubbles, making funny faces, etc.).