Time now for a little Proud Mama Moment...
My daughter has always had a big vocabulary--even before she could talk. She'd get highly frustrated because she couldn't communicate what she wanted, but even at a year old could understand and follow complicated directions ("Go in your bedroom and get Mommy your bear and your blanket, then bring them back out here"). Still, once she was able to speak, it wasn't all that clear (lots of the often-used consonants didn't come out right, but Brother always knew what she was saying), though with a little speech therapy she made huge progress. When she was 2 and 3, and people would look over at me (above her) and say things like, "Good Lord. I cannnot understand a word she said" right after she'd spoken to them, it used to break my heart--fact was, she may not have enunciated, but that did not mean she was deaf! She knew just what they'd said, and it frustrated her to no end.
So I'm totally fine with being wildly proud of her advanced vocabulary now. She's 12, by the way. Into boys and clothes and hairstyles just like any other soon-to-be-7th grader. But the other day she was bantering with her dad about something (can't remember what), and I caught her spewing this line: "Well, that was a pretty obscure reference, wasn't it?"
12, ladies and gents.
And yesterday, when she'd read the final 15 pages of the 6th Harry Potter tome, she closed the back cover and said, "Wow. That was a pretty bold choice on JK Rowling's part." (referring to the shocking death of a beloved lead character) Wow is right, sweetheart. Wow for a kid to choose those words instead of "OMG. I, like, totally can't believe Dumbledore, like, died!" And even more wow, for a kid her age to put herself in the author's shoes and consider she may alienate readers by killing off such a character. She even went on to discuss with me how Rowling must have really sat down, planned and considered whether the story should take such a turn.
See? A lot goes on between those grinding wheels inside her lovely head. (here's Mommy waving a big "In Yer Face" flag at all the people who acted like she was less than amazing back in her pre-Speech days) Maybe for those years she spent not talking so much, her little brain was configuring more synapses so she could comprehend better.
Either way, sometimes I'd like to start a public service campaign to remind people a kid who doesn't speak clearly isn't "slow", and it's no indication they can't comprehend. For everybody who thinks it's okay to verbalize such sentiments in front of the consonant-impaired: Maybe the kid just has better manners than you, and isn't saying what he/she thinks. Maybe those different sounds are the result of her biting her tongue!