Yaakov’s Awful Stutter

Yaakov’s Awful Stutter

Right after Chanukah, I noticed that my 3-year-old, Yaakov, was stuttering terribly.

If he wanted milk, for example, he would say, “Mi mi mi mi mi mi mi mi mi” and then he would forcefully press his hand against his cheek which enabled the, “-ilk” to sputter out. It was painful to see him struggle like that. Over the course of the day and week, the stutter would go back and forth between bad and terrible. He seemed stuck and I was starting to get worried.

This wasn’t the first time Yaakov had started stuttering. Also this past summer he had developed a stutter, to such an extent that I was worried how he would manage when his new gan started at the end of August. But then a funny thing happened. At the end of his first day at gan, I picked him up, and the stutter had disappeared. Mi mi mi mi mi mi mi mi mi mi had become milk again.

But when Yaakov started stuttering right after Chanukah, I couldn’t figure out why it had come back.

I decided to search “stutter 3-year-old” on Google, and what I discovered was really scary. Usually, Dr. Google explained, you don’t have to worry about a stutter at such a young age. But if a child has to struggle so many times to get out a word, that is a good sign that the stutter will be an ongoing issue as the child gets older. I remembered Seth, my old elementary and high school classmate, who had a heart of gold as well as a debilitating stutter, and imagined Yaakov at his 1st grade interview, at his bar mitzvah, at yeshiva high school saying “mi mi mi mi mi mi mi mi.”

I decided to speak with Yaakov’s teacher. She, of course, had also noticed the stutter. Maybe she should speak with the gan’s guidance counselor to get advice, she suggested? And then she asked me, “Have there been any big changes in Yaakov’s life recently?”

“Well, actually, my husband is away now on a work-trip for 2 weeks…You know what? Why don’t we wait a bit and see what happens?”

And sure enough, my husband came home last Tuesday. And the same day he walked into the house, the stutter made its exit. Looking back, I realize that Yaakov’s first day of gan, which coincided with the end of his stutter this past summer, also coincided with my husband’s return from a trip to visit his family abroad.

Which made we realize…

I am always writing and writing and writing about how important moms are. And that’s true.

But we shouldn’t forget how very important dads are too.


  1. so true!!!

  2. Well if you ever have any questions — we are dealing with a 5 year old with a severe stutter. It started at age 2, when apparently “all kids stutter” so nobody would take me seriously. Anyway he still has it and it does come and go – but not connected with any life changes.

  3. (One therapist said it’s because he’s surrounded by fast talking sisters!!)

  4. Chana Jenny, this essay is (like many of your essays) simply a breath of fresh air.

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