OBSERVATIONS · slice of life · speech

Trying to Say “Eat” Is Hard.

Izzy has been signing the word eat for months.  Sometimes she signs it and means eat.  Other times she signs it and wants a drink.  Therefore, we are working with her to say “cup” and “eat” with her voice.

I have an app on my iPhone that has short videos of words. This morning. (If your jaw just stopped open because you’ve read my previous post on NOT giving her my iPhone, please know she only uses speech apps on there. Oh, and she watches the occasional Maccabeats video.)  I was working with Izzy to help her practice the word eat.  I pressed play on the video of the woman whose mouth says eat slowly and then at a regular pace.

“No,” Isabelle said instead of trying the word.

“Say eat,” I replied as I replayed the seven second video.  Why isn’t she trying it.  She always tries it.

“No,” she said again when the second video ended.

“Isabelle, say ‘eat’,” exaggerating the way I moved my lips to make each sound in the word.

“No,” she said with a frown on her face.  She turned away from me.

“Sweetie, come here,” I said.  I took her tiny toddler hands in mine and waited ’til she looked at me.  “How come you won’t say the word eat?”

She looked away.

“Please look at me, Izzy.”  Her eyes looked up immediately so I tried a  new tactic since I knew she wasn’t going to answer my question.

“Is saying the word eat hard for you?” I asked.

“(Ye)sss,” she responded with the saddest eyes I’ve ever seen.

I slid my hands up to her shoulders and pulled her towards me.  I gave her the tightest hug I could muster to help me from crying.  “I know it’s hard for you, Izzy.  But sometimes we have to try things even when they’re hard for us.  That’s the only way things become easier.”  Stop talking, Stacey.  You’re saying too much.  Too many words for her to take in.  “Let’s practice it again, okay?”

She shook her head yes.

“Would you like to sit on my lap?” I asked.


She plopped down into my lap.  Together we touched the play button on my iPhone.  The woman’s mouth appeared and said eat again.  This time, at the end of the video, Isabelle said “eh.”

“I heard you say ‘eh.’ What a good try, Isabelle.”

27 thoughts on “Trying to Say “Eat” Is Hard.

  1. You are a great mom, Stacey. Parenting is so humbling and full of second-guessing and we say things that we were sure we would absolutely never say to our children. You didn’t say too much and she is learning that learning is hard! SO hard! I’m sure that I’ll write about parenting struggles and wishes to rewind over the course of the month. You have a lot of company.

  2. Parenting is SO SO SO SO hard….I once, long ago, spent months trying to get my son to say something…mimic something…. I am not proud of it, but at times I withheld the banana until he (and I) were in tears…..yet he did not respond….and then, I found out he could not hear me….and I was the one in tears….Your love will be what she remembers….I’m sure of that….

  3. The part of your piece that resonated with me is: “Stop talking, Stacey. You’re saying too much…” I feel like I do that all the time with my elder. Because he is verbiose, I sometimes forget that I’m talking with a three-year-old little guy…and I just keep going and going when five words would suffice. Just like I’m typing now ;). Thank you for your honest slice — parenting ISN’T easy at any age. It is, however, rewarding. Just like “eh”.

  4. So much here to take in and admire, Stacey – you are attuned to Isabelle, sensitive to her needs, and yet conscious that she is her own person, and needs to find her own way. With you for a mom, Isabelle is ready for any challenge. Thank you for sharing with us…

  5. Thank you for sharing this Stacey, I know how tough it was for you. It is so clear that you have unconditional love for Isabelle, which is what counts the most.

  6. Isabelle is a lucky girl to have you so aware and intently focused on her and her needs at any given time. I was thinking that she didn’t want to say it because she wasn’t hungry. Good thing you realized the real reason behind her hesitance.

  7. I appreciate your openness and honesty in this post. You seem to write from your heart where we can all feel the struggle you both felt.

  8. I think the best part of this is that you made it Ok to struggle, when she didn’t want to do something that’s hard. Too often parents don’t keep working with their kids on the hard stuff. They make it OK to quit. You are helping Isabelle understand at an early age that anything worthwhile takes hard work. And I have a feeling once she really starts talking, you’ll have trouble getting her to stop 🙂

  9. Thanks for sharing this slice with us. Parenting is difficult and we’re never sure we’re doing the “right” thing. You handled this situation and Izzy knows how much you love her and how you will be there to help her with difficult (and easy) situations.

  10. There is an overflowing amount of precious in this slice. I love that you took her in your lap and tried again. You gave her the support she needed to feel like she could give it one more go. Good for both of you.

  11. An intimate moment shared with the world is what this slice is. You are brave to share, but through it I hope you can feel the love and support of all.

    1. Thank you, Elsie. I certainly can. (I had so much trepidation about sharing this slice publicly. I almost didn’t. But now that I did, I am so grateful for everyone’s supportive comments. I needed that.)

  12. It’s hard to watch your child struggle. As parents we often want to rescue and make things all better. I love that you supported your daughter, reassured her that it was ok to try the hard stuff, and then helped her to give it another try. Thanks for sharing your hard stuff with us…it takes a lot of courage.

  13. What a touching post. She is trying so hard. If you lived in Canada i would suggest trying “Mange” from manger to eat.
    Enclosing her in your hug was so affirming.
    Such love. You really touched me.

  14. awwww! I like how you took us through in real-time, just how it happened to you, as you figured out why she wasn’t saying it. I love how you ended with a positive, encouraging moment. Your love for her is so evident in your writing!

  15. Your inner voice here struck me. The wanting to do the right thing…not just for now, but for all those future moments. I sense you feel the weight of your words. Your parenting instincts are solid, never doubt that you are doing are right by little Izzy!

  16. Stacey,
    I’m glad you shared this with the world. The things that are the hardest are often just the thing someone else needs to hear and we need to say. Like Deb, I’m struck by how you are helping Isabelle learn to keep practicing, even when things are hard.

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