85 days down, 280 to go!
I love you. I really do. I love you with all my heart. I love your crazy curly hair, I love your huge belly laugh, I love ridiculous facial expressions, I love your big hugs. I don’t however, love it when you scream. I don’t love it when you throw things. I don’t love it when you bang your head. In short, I love you, I don’t love your speech delay. In fact, I kind of hate it.
Mommy Orange Rhino
Way back when I posted “The Root of my Yelling” I shared this picture, sighting the reasons I am so impatient.
One driver was that well, kids can be annoying. And oh can they be. And under that I mentioned each child and their personal challenges. Well, dear wonderful #3 has a speech delay. And it sucks.
It sucks because I hear other moms gloating about how great their 18 month old is talking and I think, yeah, my 2.5 year old isn’t that far along. It sucks because I hear other 2.5 years olds talk, and communicate, and I think, yeah, I wish that was my son. Because if that was my son, then he wouldn’t be screaming in frustration. He wouldn’t be throwing things, in frustration. He wouldn’t be hitting himself, in frustration.
If my son didn’t have a speech delay, I feel like he would be happier. I know I would be. I know, how awful is it to say that? But it is the truth.
Because the screaming fits are unbearable. Watching him bang his head when we don’t him understand him? Unbearable. Getting hit in the head with a sippy cup because it is empty and he can’t explain the problem so he throws it? Unbearable.
Knowing that while we are making progress, we have hit a road block because of apparently another issue, even more unbearable.
Not only does #3 have a speech delay, but it seems he has some sensory issues as well. That problem probably reads like a foreign language to most of you. What the hell are “sensory issues?” Does that mean he is autistic? No. It just means he is over sensitive to senses. Okay, but what does that mean for #3?
In simple terms, for my dear #3, it means he won’t let anyone touch his face, or his tongue for that matter which makes speech therapy really challenging which in turn means the SCREAMING fits aren’t improving all that much. It means he is extra attached to certain objects because he likes how they feel and SCREAMS if anyone touches them. It means he can’t stand how socks feel, yet at the same time, has to always have shoes on and if one or the other doesn’t happen, he SCREAMS.
I can summarize #3 in one phrase: BIG laugh and BIG lungs. His laugh can lift you higher than high and his scream can put you lower than lower. Because when he screams, when he gets to that point, there is no stopping it. We can ignore it, we can politely remove him to the other room, we can say calmly “#3 use your words.” But half the time, no more, it doesn’t seem to stop the Screaming fit.
It’s infuriating. And it’s sad. Because I know he is just as infuriated. And probably sad too. That his brothers don’t always understand him. That he gets snapped at more than the others. That he experiences what he does.
And it just sucks. Not gonna lie. Not gonna sugar coat it. It sucks.
I know we are making progress. We are finally up to 4 word phrases! But there are times when I just lose my patience with the process. When I don’t want to have speech therapy 2x a week and now occupational therapy 2x a week. When I don’t want to clap my hands to each syllable as I talk. When I don’t want to walk around the house pointing to things trying to understand what he wants. When I don’t want to hear other kids has age talk because I find myself jealous. When I don’t want to pull over to the side of the road to get his slipper because it fell off and he is ballistic.
Because I had to do that today. For a slipper. And when I did, I did an oopsie snap.
And immediately he did. He stopped screaming and started looking sad. His eyes became still. His lips frowned. The hurt just radiated from him. It was awful. AWFUL awful awful. Because I love him so much and don’t want to snap at him for something that I know he is trying so hard to overcome. I immediately unbuckled him and held him.
He wrapped his little legs around my waste, his arms around my neck, and snuggled his head into my neck. I held him for 5 minutes. I closed my eyes and just told him over and over how much I love him. And thank God, he let me hold him. He let me love him. Because I needed him to know how much I love him and how awful I felt.
Fast forward an hour.
I am getting dressed. #3 looks at me and says,
“Mommy looks pretty.”
“Mommy is pretty.”
I burst into tears.
See, the thing about Speech Delays is that while they SUCK, they also have a fabulous way of making you appreciate the small things, like three word phrases. They make ordinary words never sound more beautiful.
Like at bedtime “Mommy, schnuggle me.”
He still has not unprompted said “Mommy, I love you.” And while I yearn to hear those words in his sweet little voice, I am not going to complain I haven’t heard them. Because when I do, I know it is going to be the most AMAZING feeling in the world. And until that moment, I am going to keeping using all the energy I can muster to be patient with him and not yell at him. Because guess what? Yelling at him when he’s frustrated instead of helping him learn how to communicate, will only set him back. And I love him too much to let that happen.