I feel this weird birthparent pressure to be nothing but 100 percent positive about things at home: The boys are great! The world is filled with sunshine! Clearly everything is awesome over here! Sometimes I feel okay talking about problems in the past tense, or at least past-ish: okay, I have PPD, but I’m not going to talk about it until I have an action plan. This is dumb, although I understand where it comes from, and it’s making it hard for me to write here. So I’m going to try to stop.
Joey’s speech is significantly delayed. When I first finally saw how far behind he had fallen, I started doing some home preschool—and we’re keeping that up—and he started to seem happier and more social, but his speech hasn’t gotten much better. He has used phrases maybe half a dozen times in the month we’ve been doing homeschool. He doesn’t string words together, and his pronunciation of words is really bad, not just adorable toddler bad but borderline gibberish bad. At the same time, he does mimic my tone and the Mister’s, and he loves music, so I don’t think it’s a hearing issue. I also don’t think it’s autism, seeing as he is social, points, and looks where we point. But he doesn’t speak anywhere near as well as most kids at two—he seems very young around other kids his age—and we’ve got an appointment with the pediatrician on the 15th, and I’m going to ask him about Early Intervention. Ruth has assured me that Cricket’s speech was incredibly mature at this age, which of course makes me feel more guilty and frantic. This morning, he was trying to say “Fee, fie, foe, fum!”and was getting me to say it (clearly and carefully, while facing him and looking him in the eye) but couldn’t manage more than “Fa!” I wish the appointment wasn’t so far away.
It’s an odd contrast to Kit, who so far is hitting milestones early enough that I give him the side eye every so often. He sits, he crawls, he says “Hi” at times when people usually say hi and only then, and the other day he let go of my hands and took a couple of staggery steps into my lap. He’s not even six months old! I know that this isn’t walking walking, or talking talking, and so I don’t brag—I just find myself surprised sometimes. Yesterday he had a diaper so intense that I put him into the bathtub so that I could just hose him off—and he was cheerfully and competently grabbing things that he wanted, shifting out of sitting to crawling, and then exploring the tub. Joey has always been more reluctant to push himself to master new skills, and the contrast is so great that sometimes Kit feels like a different species. In that, I am much more like Joey, which probably helps to explain why I keep being puzzled by this huge, cheerful, capable baby.