That’s right, I sure did. We’ve been working on letter sounds and have been slowly working towards what it looks like to sound words out. To help Bug make this mental transition, I started breaking down words for him as I read him books. For instance, if the sentence was, “See a red car,” I would read the sentence and then sound out the first letter of each word. It would look something like, “See. The first letter of the word see is S, Bug! The letter s makes the ssssssssss sound. Ssssss….sssssss…ssssssss…..see a red car,” which I’d do for each word in the sentence. Bug thought that was hilarious and decided to start speaking by “sounding out” the first and sometimes last letter of many of his words.
So for about a week, all of his sentences sounded something like, “M-m-m-mommy, want-t-t-t-t more milk-k-k-k.” Yup. He started stuttering. Could I be any worse of a Mom?
I actually stuttered a bit as a child, but with a bit of speech therapy it’s not something I do regularly. Occasionally I trip up on my words if my mind is moving more quickly than my mouth, but I suppose I’ve just learned to take my time and think through what I’m saying so it doesn’t happen. Since Bug has started talking with more complicated thoughts, he often stops mid-sentence to think about forming his word before he says it. Because of this fact and my tendency towards stuttering, I’ve wondered if we might need to keep an eye on him. So while I took a deep breath and told myself not be paranoid, I was concerned when he started mimicking my phonics and stuttering. Preacher Man and I decided not to acknowledge the fact that he was doing it, continue to be patient with him when it took him a bit to finish his thoughts, and see if he moved past it.
It’s taken a little over a week, but he’s finally phasing the stuttering out of his speech pattern. I think he genuinely just thought it sounded cool and is using it to experiment with how different letters sound, but I’m grateful to see it’s not a speaking pattern that will stick with him. He occasionally falls back into it, and if he’s still stuttering when school starts, we’ll see if speech therapy is something we need to look into. Until then, I just need to figure out how to teach Bug phonics without teaching him to stutter. If you have suggestions or ideas, I’d love to hear ’em!