Following in his brother's footsteps, Caleb didn't even attempt speaking until he was past 18 months. But now, at 20 months, his vocabulary has exploded!
As with Colin, I had casually used a few sign language words with Caleb, but he only ever learned two of them: "more" and "food". Not always in conjunction with each other; he also uses "more" in relation to music, asking for song after song after song. Bright kid that he is, he also adapted one other sign: "popcorn". There is a children's song we sing often about spring blossoms that look like popcorn, and it has little hand actions that include a sign for popcorn. I still remember the day a few weeks back when he came back from the fair with Grandma and Grandpa. "Did you have anything to eat?" I asked, and he nodded. "Did you have a hot dog?" and he grinned and nodded again. "Did you eat anything else?" I queried. He nodded, paused, and then proceeded to "sign" to me: popcorn! I laughed at the joy in his face, but then watched as his expression grew contemplative for a moment. Then he peered up at me and signed: "More popcorn?" He doesn't miss a beat.
I can proudly say that "Mommy" was his first word, followed closely by "Daddy". I couldn't even try to count all the words he has now. But, very notably, none of his words are superfluous. He doesn't bother himself with animals or colours or shapes - every word committed to memory is in direct correlation to his needs and wants.
Here is a good sampling of his words so far:
Foods: Cereal, bar (granola), cheese, cracker, yogurt, water, milk, juice, bread, peanut butter, ketchup, syrup, food, hungry.
Bedtime: Soother, nap, blanket, cuddle (my favourite word, by far!), poop (diaper change), sleep, clock, light, pillow.
Family: Mommy, Daddy, Colin, Caleb, Ma, Pa, cat, Bampa (Grandpa/Grandma), "Fer" (Jennifer) "Kyrs" (Krystal), Hello, Bye.
Songs: Popcorn ("Popcorn Popping), Daddy (a song about Dad) Mommy (a song about Mom) Spider (Eensy Weensy Spider), "inkle" (Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star)
Toys: Truck, car, train. (nothing more needed!)
Activities: Self ("let me do this by myself!"), walk, car (travel by car), centre (a local play centre) park, stroller, bike, scooter.
Caleb and Colin are alike in the respect that both spoke their first word later than normal, but then virtually exploded right away. But where Colin picked up all the words from books and pictures (like colours, shapes, animals, etc) and favourite songs (like "The Impossible Dream") and used generic words like "food" instead of specifying further, Caleb is very specific about exactly what needs he has, from what food he wants, what drink he wants, if he wants a cuddle or a rest or a nap or a sleep or just to sit in the crib - and has no need for any words that don't have an immediate purpose.
As I mentioned above, my favourite word Caleb has right now is "cuddle." He'll randomly stop what he's doing at numerous times throughout the day, find wherever I am and ask for a cuddle. I sit on the floor and he climbs up into my lap, leaning his head against my chest and just taking a break from the busyness of a toddler's day. It usually lasts a minute or two and then he's up and going again. But it's like he's checking back in with me, making sure I know that even though he's all about independence, he still needs me around. This is what being a mom is all about.