At the age of 1 month, Jessica was smiling. I loved to make her smile. She seemed to love smiling. When she was about 1 year old she said "hi". I would walk into her room each morning and she would say "hi". It never ceased to give me goose bumps. I encouraged her to say more - dadadada, mom, anything but it was just "hi". This lasted a few months and then it was gone. She never spoke again. She had seemed to want to say more but it just never came. "Hi" became this noise like "hunkkkk" and she would go through the house making this sound all day. I never stopped encouraging her and she enjoyed me saying words to her and she did develop her own approximation - "aga". She would make the 'aga' sound if she wanted you to do something again or if she wanted your attention or if there was something you said maybe an hour ago and she wanted you to say it again. You can see, there was a lot of room for error and this, in many cases led to tantrums of frustration when her needs were not meant. Not to mention feelings of inadequacy as a parent that I could not figure out what she wanted.
She received speech therapy to help her. Speech development depends on many things and one of them is being able to chew. A person needs to know how to use your mouth in many ways, blowing, smacking, biting. All these little skills contribute to the mouth developing so that it can speak and vice versa. This was to be one area that would remain undeveloped into her adulthood and probably for life.