Ever since Nathan started at his school this fall, we have seen such tremendous improvement with his speech. There are still some areas that I know with time will work themselves out, like how he still pronounces “l” words with a “w,” so a cartoon about leaves suddenly became an excited ode to synthetic hair: “WEAVES, MOMMY! WOOK! WEAVES!” Yes, I’ve been excited about $$$ pieces of plastic hair that accompanied my Halloween costume or the time that Mike and I got a babysitter so we could play, “Sexy Strangers: First Names Only.” My name was Mona. I don’t understand rules very well. Obviously!
It’s been hard to be spontaneous because Nathan needs to schedules and transitions. We have to tell him explicitly where we are going, what we are doing, what we expect of him. We have magnetic charts that list out what he does every day. His speech therapist at schools prints out illustrated strips so he knows what comes after tub time, what happens after snack time.
Sometimes he is more work than the baby. With TJ, I know his cries mean that he’s hungry or needs to be changed. Those solutions I can provide without seventeen parenting books on happy children, nutureshock, late talkers. But if we are in the checkout line at the grocery store and Nathan starts flailing on the ground because he wants then doesn’t want then wants again some freaking Sun Chips, I do not know! I barely know things in my adult life. My co-worker brought in some dessert made with marzipan and my island bumpkin self pointed at it with my big fat sausage finger: “What’s this yellow jelly?!?”
And holy heckers, if we hint at the slightest possibility of going to the park, we had better be pushing his osh-kosh butt on a swing or there will be hell to pay. We can’t offer him excuses like, “The park is closed,” or “There are too many homeless people there right now,” or “Let’s wait for this gang initiation to be over and then we can go to the teeter-totter.” These attempts are futile and even he knows we are lying.
The bright spots far outweigh the grueling parts of raising this boy. We have seen more change in the few months of his developmental preschool than we have in the entire year of private speech therapy. Every day he comes home with more words, more phrases, songs that talk of pirates and washer machines and dinosaurs that make the earth flat. I love it.
Sometimes these moments excite me, other times I am stunned and confused, wondering why any child of mine would say while I’m watching Real Housewives of Atlanta, “Mommy can you turn that off? I can’t concentrate.”
I love when he places his hands on the side of my face and says, “I like you, Mommy, just the way you are.” And maybe he doesn’t understand fully what he is saying, but the words are enough for me to wrap my arms around my baby, and reply, “Come here, you.”