I know a boy as sweet as can be, So…
Perspective is everything. Isn’t that what they say? I always try to find perspective in life, especially when it comes to Noah. My healthy, fully-abled, happy, loving child who wants for nothing.
However, (yep, sorry for that ‘however’) it is hard sometimes and right now I am finding it hard. Every day when I drop Noah at his wonderful pre school I get teary eyed. I see the other children run to Noah, say good morning and make him laugh and then they run off to continue playing and I watch my little boy stand alone. When I say teary eyed, depending on the day that could actually mean a few big fat tears!
Developmentally Noah has peaks where I see real improvements and then a week or two where he may plateau. Those weeks are tough and we are in one at the moment. These are the weeks I rack my brains to think of more ways I can help him. I never feel like I have done or can do enough for my children and with Noah’s additional needs that feeling is pretty much constant. Just little things, like letting him play on his own while I take time to catch up on housework, or on my side job, or whatever, I know I should be working with him one on one. You just can’t do enough.
I guess what made me want to write this post was a realization I had this weekend. A tough realization, which I am actually surprised I have not had earlier.
Whilst in the loooonng line waiting to pay at Ikea, Noah wanted to get out of the cart to walk around. Instead of using words to ask to get down, Noah was just grunting and moaning. I asked him to use his words and modeled it for him, ‘Noah, please use your words: Mummy I want to get down. Down mummy”. No words came out, just more grunting. I think sometimes Noah is a little lazy and dare I say maybe even a little stubborn and at that moment he didn’t (or possibly couldn’t) use words to tell me. Anyway, I picked him out of the cart and became acutely aware of all the people around me. It was then that I put myself in their shoes and thought about what they’d just seen. If I was them, I would think that child had learning delays. Then it hit me, ‘For God sake Laura, Noah DOES have delays and needs special help’. After countless hours of therapy, assessments, reviews, feedback and God knows what else, I had never actually seen my child through the eyes of other people in this way. BOOM that was a shocker, but why should it be. I’ve been going through this for years with Noah. It’s crazy.
Thinking back when I would go to playdates, I would always comment to the other mums about how bright, talkative, advanced their children were. Not for one minute did I think Noah had any delays, why did I never pick up on something like this?
I recently started reading a book about a couple who strongly belief that eliminating gluten and dairy from your child’s diet can improve speech and cognitive abilities. (P.S we are now on the gluten-free train!) There are a few lines in this book, which help me see why maybe I didn’t notice something I should have.
“A severe language delay is almost never diagnosed in a child under two, sometimes there are a few words and normal developmental milestones in the beginning and it’s hard to notice when they disappear or don’t increase. Besides, so many well-meaning people had reassured me:
You can’t compare him to Laura – she was so precocious.
Boys talk later than girls do.
He’s had so many ear infections.
Alan didn’t talk until he was three.
My next-door neighbors son didn’t talk until he was four.
Einstein didn’t talk until he was…”
Doctors were never concerned, friends and family would reassure me and I just kept pushing the boundaries for Noah. ‘Next summer he’ll be talking’. Then the boundary would push back. ‘He’ll be such a chatterbox by Christmas’. Then, ‘If he’s not talking by his 3rd birthday I’ll be worried’. Noah’s third birthday came and went 6 months ago.
Could I have noticed something sooner? Who knows, but I am doing my best with the knowledge and awareness I have today. And I learned something about myself today and I created a new quote (oh yea!) the love I have for my children is so powerful, it’s actually blinding. Maybe I did miss something, but if I did it is only because I was blinded by love.