Monday, April 19, 2010

A Most Appalling Metaphor

Owen woke up this morning and said that his tummy hurt. Despite this, he still had the energy to put his brother in a headlock and demand cold spaghetti for breakfast. I wasn't terribly concerned.

Sure enough, following a truly impressive moment at the public (naturally) restroom, he was fine. His tummy just needed some time to work itself out.

Naturally, I found a metaphor in all this. Appalling, but they say, "write what you know!"

It's easy for me to get caught up in worry. Joel isn't talking the way I would like him to. He has a few words, but prefers to grunt, point, whine, and, in a most annoying development, lose his shit to convey his desires.

For example, instead of saying, "Oh, Mother dear, I would greatly appreciate a glass of apple juice," my second-born prefers to open the refrigerator door and remove items, all the while screaming, "DIS! DIIIIIIIIIIIIIIS!"

We are supposed to read his mind to determine which "this" he wants. It could be anything from a slice of cheese to a strawberry to a shot of Jack straight-up.

Wait, maybe that's me.

At night and in the morning, I let the worry clutter up my insides, creating my own paranoid tummyache. I wonder if he is speech delayed, if he has autism or a sensory processing disorder. I wonder if those first eight months without ear tubes kept him from hearing us. Maybe we should have pushed the baby sign. 

I know enough occupational and/or speech therapists to know that we're supposed to let him get upset, and force him to use his words. We're not supposed to let him off the hook. We're supposed to label everything and read to him.

Well, at least we read to him. There is that. I'll admit it: my sense of peace compels me to avoid tantrums and frustration-induced meltdowns. I've got two needy kids, and sometimes it is so much easier to give the kid DIIIIIIIIIS instead of making him say it for himself.

I'm walking around with all this in my stomach, and I know that he isn't even two yet, and he's a boy and that Owen wasn't really talking at this point, either. It'll come. I need to relax. All I really need to do is sit down somewhere, and let all the feelings come out.

Internet, consider yourself  my psychic public restroom. You're welcome.

And if the language doesn't come, there are good people and good programs that will guide us along. I'm sure the speech language pathologists of the world LOVE being compared to prune juice. Elle, Tracie, again, you're welcome.

Perhaps the first step in all this would involve two words: Just relax.

Or, better yet: Unclench.


Cheeseboy said...

Ha ha! Sometimes I am in the mood to just say DIIIIIIS NOW! I think we can all get a little impatient at times.

As for the stomach thing... 85% of my first graders that tell me they have a stomach ache have it go away within an hour.

erika said...

I thought it was a perfect metaphor. Maybe it wouldn't have made it into a Wordsworth poem, but Baudelaire would have loved it.

I am no speech pathologist, so I might be totally off (please, don't shoot me) but if he understands everything you say to him (as you had mentioned before) than his auditory processing should be fine. Also, he does communicate and asks for help, so autism sounds highly unlikely as well. In some children language develops gradually and continuously, in others, it comes in jumps and spurts. At least that's what my Language Acquisition Theories professor taught me. Maybe Joel will be the jumpy-spurty type.

Coby said...

I think we're cut from the same cloth in a lot of ways. I constantly have to remind myself to "just relax" when it comes to my kids; I have a lot of the same worries about my kids, partly because my kids seem so "different" than my friends' kids. Was it the NICU? Did we not "bond" enough in their earliest of days? Or are they just like this? I'm slowly learning to let go and just let them be who they are, setting my own insecurities aside about whether or not my kids are "weird." It's been very humbling, and I realized that my love for them would be no less if there were
"something wrong." They're my gifts.

Anonymous said...

Nancy, you make me laugh. I adore stories about your kids. Your metaphor is perfection.

Nancy C said...

I think that NICU thing with Joel shook my confidence. And then the minor surgeries, the glasses, etc. I guess I always assume that something else is coming down the road with him, which is totally unfair.

You're right, though. He is my gift, and if something is going on, so be it.

Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip said...

I tend to live on the neurotic side and spend way too much of my energy stressing about things that work themselves out eventually. But that's just my nature I guess. Unclench is a good plan. I think I going to try to work on that. In the meantime, don't worry too much about your baby's speech development. My Diego didn't talk hardly at all until 2 and now his is speaking in sentences. (He's turning 3 in July.) ONce he rounded that corner it was ON! And now we are wondering why we ever wanted him to start talking anyway?! (Just kidding.)

Melani said...

Relax. That is the best thing you can do.

I remember when Brandon didn't pass the newborn hearing screening at the hospital, just a day after he was born. I was devistated and they kept trying to tell me not to worry. They tested him several more times and the left ear wouldn't pass. SO, I waited 3 weeks and brought him back and still no pass. At 7 weeks he was diagnosed with Auditory Neuropothy in his left ear. To this day you would never know. He runs around like all the other 2.5 yr olds and he talks more and more every day and you can understand more. I, like you, keep thinking there will be more to his story of being deaf in one ear. I wait. Patiently. And be the best advocate I can be for him, as do you with your boys.

Relax. I will pray.

Mama Zen said...

Absolutely excellent metaphor!

Viv said...

My now 7 year old did not hardly talk at all, right up until he started school he was mostly unintelligible. Now? He is a straight A student with no problems at all. I honestly believe that some children need longer to grow up than others, in absence of any other reason.

clearness said...

I'm pretty sure I could have written some if not most of this.......Joey will be 3 tomorrow (I was in labor right now 3 years ago)

I need to relax, because Joey is progressing, rather slowly, but at his own rate and is showing improvements~

Cat said...

My boy is 19.5 months. He babbles like no one's business, but actual words only come when we're talking about something important, like BALL! or PLANE! or CHEESE! I wouldn't worry too much, and if you are laying awake at night thinking about it, take him in for a screening. But really... it sounds like he's right at where Boy is. Only Boy doesn't say DIS! To him, the entire contents of the fridge consist of APPLE!

Now go have a drink.

Unknown Mami said...

Now, I'm all stressed out that Put Pie isn't really talking either.

Ms. Moon said...

You know what? I think you're just anxious and this is something you are focusing your anxiety on.
Chill, mama.
That's my advice.

June said...

Unclench, take a shot of Jack and relax! Have some faith woman!! And another shot...

Bekah said...

Ok, Mama Nancy. I work with kids (birth-3) with delays and/or disabilities for a living. Please don't let Joel get to the point where's he's really upset. Honetly, doesn't do you or him any good. A good rule of thumb- try 3 times to get him to say it, then just label it for him and give it to him. Sounds like you are doing the right things and watching out for the right things. Obviously I don't know your family (well) but autism seems unlikely. If it makes you feel better, get him evaluated by a SLP and enrolled in Early Intervention Programming. Barring any physical problems, he will probably catch up in his own good time without any intervention. So relax!

Minivan Lover said...

I had a two year old like lose my shit meltdown at dinner this very evening. It's pathetic. After I read stories to P tonight I said, "Please learn words. Like let's try 'too spicy'. When you say this I will know the pork chops are burning your mouth." He farted.

adrienzgirl said...

I love your thought processes.

Bathroom humor/metaphors are the best.

Jenny said...


I read this twice.

The comparisons and the kids doing calculus at the age of 23 months can kill you.

Don't go there.

There is such a wide range of normal in little ones.

He does communicate...I think if he weren't doing that I would be worried.

The reading is wonderful to help them along.

I think DISSSSSSSS is nothing out of the normal range for a two year old...

My son talked much less and with much more difficulty then my daughters. He never shuts up now..I should have enjoyed the lack of ability to analyze everything using 2,000 words or more when I had it.

Sorry this is so rought right now.

I definitely think each kid should have come with their own, specific owners manual.

Exhale please.

Alice said...

25 years ago I had similar concerns...tho terms such as autism, processing disorder, etc thankfully hadn't been invented yet. Number 2 son's word was "uh" and I just played the guessing game until we figured out what he wanted. And in his good (and quite normal) time speech came.

It's really hard to follow an extremely verbal older brother!

And when the older brother speaks in sentences at 18 months, it's sooooooo easy to think that normal speech development is abnormal.

And, tho siblings, two kids are VERY different from each other.

People will advise to "let each kid march to his own drummer". Actually, I don't thin "let" is the correct word. They WILL march to their own drummers and we don't really control that....and that's a good thing!

And, of course, some actually become drummers............

only a movie said...

Second born to an overly verbal first born? It happens a lot.

I feel your worries and love that your are processing it (which is why blogging is often better than therapy). Relax, and it will all shake out later on. Remember that 'typical development' is still a range...


michelle said...

They all have their strengths and their weaknesses. And they all do what they do in their own time. Ty didn't say "mama" until after his second birthday. I convinced myself I caused him brain damage by sitting in a hot tub when I was 12 weeks pregnant. Half the time I still can't understand what he says. But he's funny as hell and has that cello thing going on. And he's on the high honor roll.

Joel will be just fine.

Mary said...

I'm 11 months older than my brother. And my dear wife points out how VERY verbal I am... Anyways, I was about two, my brother about one year old, and he would point at the faucet and scream. I'd say "He'd like a drink of water, Mom". My Mom would say "he can ask for it himself". He finally stopped screaming and announced "I want a GODDAMNED drink of WATER!" :-)

Angie Muresan said...

I think you do need to relax. I have a nephew who didn't speak until he was five. He is one of the most intelligent kids I know, excelling in every subject.

sd said...

I know I'm risking sounding like one of those cuckoo, "out there", new age-y psychotherapists, but... Have you heard of Crystal Children (the current generation, following Indigo Children)? I've read that many of these children don't start fully speaking until they're 3 or 4, and they're being misdiagnosed with speech delays. I'm seeing LOTS OF kids with "speech delays" coming into the system. But perhaps they just have heightened psychic abilities of communication?

You're right. That sounds cuckoo.

Bethany said...

I think you're doing fantastic.
Loved the metaphor too, just perfect really.
I like to sing the "All will be well" song to myself when I feel like that.
All will be well. You can ask me how, but only time will tell.
Hang in there dear Nancy.