Scarlett’s little brother Quentin is already a toddler but this is the first time I talk about him in this blog. I proudly recorded and published every little sound his sister Scarlett produced, with Quentin I have been quiet until now. This is partly the fate of the second born as we all know from photo albums where there are millions of pictures of first borns and hardly any of the second. Partly however it is due to the fact that Quentin’s language production so far has not been very prolific. 

Quentin is physically more advanced than Scarlett, but he speaks less. He is taller and stronger, he started walking earlier and is a climbing prodigy. In talking however Scarlett is clearly ahead. Apparently second born tend to speak slightly later, Quentin, however, is far behind his sister. Usually Quentin gets by without words. He takes me by the hand, leads me to the fridge, points at a yoghurt and says “dada”. Then he points to the drawer and says “dada” to make me get him a spoon.

Maybe he speaks less because he is a boy. I often hear that boys are more physical whereas girls are more verbal and intellectual. This is in line with our experience. Little Scarlett was leafing through picture books from a very early age, little Quentin was more into running around and doing things. Don’t get me wrong, also Quentin shows great interest in books, but his sister was much more keen.

Quentin said his first words when he was around one year: “mama”, “papa” and also “nonna”. Soon after came “cia(o), cia(o)” (Italian for: Hi or Goodbye), a bit later “bau-bau” when he saw a dog. In the next few months Quentin’s speaking slowed down, at least partly due to illnesses. Quentin had a persistent bronchitis for some weeks, which then turned into a pneumonia. He stayed in hospital for a week and two weeks later, while he was on the mend, he got another bronchitis and twice a nasty stomach flue. I don’t think all this affected his language acquisition in the long run, but it is quite understandable that he did not really feel like chatting away in this time.

Even though Quentin was not speaking a lot his passive understanding improved continually. I admit I didn’t take notes for quite some time, but when we were reading our picture book at 18 months he was able to point out many objects like for example Katze, Baer, Hund, Junge, Ball, Zug, oder Auto, at 20 months also “Puppenhaus”, “Rutsche” oder “Flugzeug” (German for: cat, bear, dog, boy, train, car, doll house, slide, plane). He also roared when we looked at a lion.

Quentins active speaking picked up again and at 18 months he said “bu” for book and “ba” for Ball (German for: ball), at around 19 month he said “more” when he wanted to have more food. At 20 month he added “kaka” (Italian for poo) and then “car”. “Car” soon became his favourite word and he started saying “car, car, car” all day long, only interrupted by “more, more” when we were at table. No need to say that Quentin’s favourite activities are eating and playing with toy cars.