There are some good things and some bad things about Benji starting to talk a bit more. One bad thing: We can’t do secret Christmas presents in front of him, because he’ll give stuff away! But mostly we have highlights of Benji talking:

– He calls fire or candles “poof,” because that’s how Nana’s has fireplace turns on.
– He can say tiller truck, as “tiwwa truck” and enunciates aid car and pumper truck clearly.
– He can say sea anemone, sea star, coral, and sea urchin, thanks to the Eric Carle Hermit Crab book.
– He calls cement mixers “bwabwabwa trucks,” making a bla/circling noise with his tongue. Other construction trucks are accurately rendered, however, except “suck truck” for pumper truck.
– Benji often says things like, “Red part gone? No.” (Referring to a visual timer.) Or “Nana bye-bye? No.” Or “More cheese please, yes!” (Telling us what to respond ahead of time.)
– When uncertain, he says, “Hmmmm… Hmmmmmmmmm…” and just keeps on saying that until someone tells him the answer.

We’ve been doing speech therapy for a few months now, and although he hasn’t caught up with his peers, Benji has started using far more words and phrases than before. Most noticeability, he had started imitating way more things we say, even if we don’t always understand him. I think understandability will continue to be an issue for a long time, but he’s figured out what words are for and that they can be useful, and therefore worth working hard to say.

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