On your marks, get set, start nattering

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CLIVE SMITH: Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn about Valentine’s Day

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Have you ever had a case of looking forward to something and then when it happens, you kind of wished it hadn’t?

Speech is one of the most important things about human beings, it sets us apart from species like woodlice.

For the past 18 months we’ve been talking to Jack, looking forward to the time that he can start spouting some random words or sounds and can begin to form coherent sentences.

Not being able to converse with your child causes all sorts of pain and heartache. A weepy toddler who is screaming the house down because he or she is sat in an uncomfortably spicy nappy won’t really be placated by a biscuit – but how could we ever know that the nappy is the issue?

Once you can communicate with a child properly, it cuts down on the frustration for everyone involved.

And so it has begun. The wait for conversation is over. He’s started talking…and hasn’t shown any signs of stopping.

Saying that, having a broadcaster as one parent and an Olympic natterer as the other, was always going to throw up a slight genetic imbalance.

‘Ba’ has been a favourite for quite a while. Anything can be ‘ba’ from shoes to the moon.

If a friend visits and I feel like a spot of parental posing, I’ll whip out the toy woolly sheep and ask ‘Jack, what’s this?’ The answer ‘ba’ makes him seem more intelligent than we all know he really is.

He’s also learning a lot from his sister Molly who, at five-years-old, hasn’t stopped talking since her second birthday.

When she practices her reading, Jack will sit listening intently and from time to time he’ll pick up the book and give it a go.

Sometimes the book is upside down and back to front, occasionally he’ll get stuck into a good old-fashioned kebab flyer that was on the door mat, and at other times he’s mistaken a DVD case for a book – I admire him for his attitude.

He’s progressing very quickly and is mouthing out sounds that are very close to the words themselves.

‘Peha’ for Peppa Pig, ‘baw’ for ball, ‘ca’ for cat are examples of his development – having those on loop for 15 minutes can become a little tiresome.

Between 18-24 months, children learn 10 words a day, some learn a new word every 90 minutes – so we’re bracing ourselves. This is the calm before the storm.

Talking to your child and encouraging them to repeat words back can have a huge bearing on their intelligence later in life.

Children that are consistently spoken to at a very young age will have significantly higher IQs.

I’m all for an intelligent and well-spoken child, but do they have to use all of their words, all of the time?