Meh

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.

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17 thoughts on “Meh

  1. It’s pretty incredible just how different two children from the same parents can be! And kind of relieving, in a sense: it reminds you that your children aren’t you or your partner’s clones, but rather truly separate people with their own strengths and identities.

    It sounds like checking in with the pediatrician is a good plan re:Joey, but I’ve known many kids who didn’t start talking until they were past two and became very talkative and expressive older kids. He’s lucky to have such a caring mom, in any case.

  2. We have very simialar issues with Matt speaking. At present we are doing a programme called it takes 2 to talk. It has been amazing. We have learnt so much and have seen huge improvements. Maybe you could investigate and see if it is run near you!

  3. You know you can contact EI directly yourself and request a speech and language eval. There will probably be a wait on their end too, and they only provide services until the child turns three (your school district takes over then of need be) so it’s better to get the process started. Both my kids received EI and I can’t say enough good things about them. And my speech delayed boy, now 8, is very (overly) verbal and articulate.

    • If you have better links, PLEASE share them, but: looking at California EI sites, they are very clear that they want me to be referred by a doctor. I had hoped to get on a waiting list now, but apparently they don’t work that way here? Really, though, anyone with better information—I’m hungry for it.

  4. Oh beloved SusieBook, I’m sorry you’re still feeling so lousy. Can you send me your snail mail address? You’ve sent me such nice happy things and I’d like to return the favor. I’ll be interested in hearing what the doctor says and what your course of action will end up being. You are awesome, BTW.

  5. I want to tell you not to worry – that the pediatrician will have some wonderful resources for you & will point you in the direction you need to go & Joey will get whatever intervention he needs & will be chatting up a storm as soon as you know it. And I do believe these things to be true, but I know there’s no way you can *not* worry. I hope the next few weeks fly by. I’ll be thinking of you. xo

  6. You’re a wonderful mom…this year has been draining with all that has been going on. It’s good to keep talking about what you’re going through. Hugs and prayers.

  7. Hey lady – I’ve been thinking about this and just wanted to also offer some words of encouragement. Our oldest, J, was slower to speak than many kids and definitely slower on verbal “milestones” that I read about on the internet and whatnot than what seemed average. I worried and fretted about it and felt defensive and tried to work on it with her and then she eventually just clicked in and now although she still struggles to use words instead of her body to express big feelings she’s really getting there.
    I compare this with our baby, S, who is ahead in every way of where her big sis was on milestones – walking, talking, whatever. I think that part of her swifter learning curve comes from having an older sib to socialize with, and part from personality.
    Not that you shouldn’t be worried or do everything you can to help Joey communicate, but two is still young and it is normal for kids to vary widely on development at that age. *hugs

  8. You are a great parent, and of course you are waiting with anxiety for the appointment – I hope it flies by until the 15th. I want to offer 2 specific encouragements. First, it can’t hurt to call early intervention and ask for information, even without a doc. Worst they can say is call back; at best they may have info or put you on the list pending doc recommendation. Second, our son was a late talker, also. At 24 months he had wonderful receptive language, and was great at communicating with us, and loved complex books read to him, but he said only 20 words (mostly animal sounds and mostly with prompting). At 30 months he was talking a lot more but was still incomprehensible to most people besides us (his parents). He speaks just fine now (at 6). In retrospect, I think starting daycare 2 mornings a week helped him clarify his language – all that talking to people outside the family and other kids. His younger sibling, like Kit, was talking very early. Good luck – I hope you get good support!!!

  9. My son didn’t talk until WAY after 2. My parents were quite concerned about his apparent delay. All of a sudden one day he just started talking in complete sentences. By age 3 everyone we met commented on how well he could express himself and believed him to be much older.

    All this to say, you just never know.

  10. I know how hard it is to wait for those appointments. We’ve had many with our youngest and the time is filled with worry! From your description, it sounds like possible appraxia, which is very easily treated. And some kids are just late talkers! My mil said that my husband did not utter a word until after he turned 3. He didn’t even try. Then all of a sudden he started speaking in complete sentences. I hope that the doctor appointment provides some answers and eases your mind!

  11. so, I TOTALLY said the wrong thing up there. Not Apraxia. I’m thinking of the one where muscle development is low and PT is used to strengthen and develop the muscles used for speech. I’m so sorry!

  12. So, I have read your post several times and always want to say this without dismissing your concerns or minimizing what is going on if he is actually delayed. I have no medical license or or education about early development. I do have 4 boys ages 7,6,4, and almost 3. and my daughter is 1.

    My experience is that language development is a broad range with no indication of capacity or comprehension or ability.

    for example my oldest who is a textbook baby in every other regard, if what to expect said he should be doing X by X month, by golly it did x to the day on x month. with the exception of language. he didn’t speak much until 4. at 2 he was pointing and speaking gibberish. He has a 154 IQ. He didn’t want to talk until he could.

    my second didn’t speak much either, and neither did my third. They both really were content with les then a dozen words until 3. by 4 they were caught up. And non of even the boys aunts and uncles could understand them until 3.5, my mom could but she is a french teacher and has an ear for butchered language.

    my youngest son does speak and at almost 3 he is the only one who has spoken a sentence before hitting the big 3. in fact his language amazes us. no one else seems to think his language is unusual or out of normal range.

    all this is to say, deep breaths. if early intervention is appropriate I think it is great you are seeking it out.

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