Just STOP!!!!

85 days down, 280 to go!

Dear #3,

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.


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18 thoughts on “Just STOP!!!!

  1. *giant hug* I’m so sorry that you and your baby are having a tough time with a speech delay, that can be so frustrating (but so rewarding when it is overcome). I grew up with a brother 2 years younger than me with a sever developmental handicap. He is 27 this year but emotionally is around the age of 3 (so him and my toddler play well together) but also going through a very late puberty. He has a severe speech impediment and gets frustrated when people don’t understand him. We turned to sign language to help us along (sometimes even just making up our own) and I’ve also taught my toddler some signs just because it helps.
    I know you probably felt terrible for snapping at #3, but he knows you love him and it shows because you are pushing through the frustration and trying your best to work hard and help him. I hope tomorrow is better 🙂

    • Thanks Mommy Baby Spot 🙂 Tomorrow was better – we got a 5 word phrase. I was so excited I jumped up and down!!!

  2. Our son also has delayed speech. He is 2 1/2. Understand your frustration over the screaming and the head banging. Our son also throws things, bites, and hits when really frustrated. He yells and points to try and get what he wants since he doesn’t have the words. Trying to brush his teeth is near impossible. Eating…well he’d rather just have milk from a bottle, so we add Carnation Instant Breakfast to his milk. Just in the last month he has finally started putting together 3-4 words and this has helped. His speech therapist has released him as he is now on the low end of “normal,” although to me he still seems behind. We started sign language when he was 18-19 months and that did help. When I get frustrated I try to think of how bad things were last year at this time and try to be thankful we are at least further along than that! Hang in there! There are others out there who completely understand. As for the sensory issues, hopefully he will out grow those (my niece did eventually).

    • Thanks for reading. You make a GREAT point about how  bad things were a year ago. Reading that made me smile and think of all the progress a year has brought. It is so easy in the thick of things to forget the positives and to be grateful. Perspective is one of the fastest ways to feel gratitude I am finding…

  3. I love this post. You are such a brave momma to go through this struggle and then share it with the world. I’m praying for your dear #3…and for you too.

  4. This post made me mention to the dr that i need help also with speech……for will…….although reading what i just wrote makes me think for me………….
    anyway, keep posting and being honest.  JUST BECAUSE PEOPLE DON’T COMMENT DAILY DOESN’T MEAN WE AREN’T READING.  you ass.  we are are reading.  we are digesting…….we are thinking about what an impressive feat you have undertaken and hope to challenge ourselves in the same way.  for now, pls realize youre a good woman, and stop beating yourself up regularly……..or i’ll do it for you.  ass.

    • No ass kicking needed. Thanks for the comment 😉 Good for Will. And great insight about asking for him…you…

  5. We have some of the same issues here with the sensory stuff. And while my son (almost 3) is doing great with attempting to say almost anything, it does take him quite a while to get it out and his speech isn’t very clear. I understand everything he says, but I do a lot of translating and repeating for him with other people. I feel weird about it sometimes too, when he’s around other 3 yo kids who are speaking everything so clearly. It’s tough. 

    And the sensory stuff leads to a lot of frustration, screaming, and whining. Oh the whining. And meltdowns. I have really been consciously focusing on what the positive sides of this sensitivity is. He seems to have a huge capacity for empathy with other people, including his dad and I. ‘Mommy, you ok? You feel sad?’ It’s those moments that my heart cracks wide open for him.

    I’ve been there with snapping too, and I have to remind myself that those moments don’t define me as a mother. What you described with the hurt radiating through him, I can totally relate to that. Even speaking strongly to my son brings this on. And when this extends into eating, and that’s true for us too, it makes everything so challenging. I feel you, Mama. 

    • Thanks for reading Andrea. It is HARD hard hard. And tough. When I am really frustrated I try to remind myself how wonderful he is and how worse it could be and it helps put it all  in perspective but still, it’s tough. Mostly because I love him so. One of my other sons has even deeper sensory issues and he (me?) is really struggling. You are right about the positives – he too is very loving and empathetic. I am starting to understand the phrase “love hurts” more and more everyday.

  6. Stumbled on this blog and found myself crying.
    My son (4yo today!) also had a severe speech delay. At 2.5 he had 7 words. And about as many signs. And yes, he screamed and whined ALL. THE. TIME. And you’d try. “show me, honey.” “this or that” “Yes or no.” trying trying trying to communicate but sometimes I just wanted him to STOP WHINING ALREADY.
    He was in speech therapy for a while and then, remarkably, he just took off. I wish I could say what happened, I don’t know. His speech is completely fine now. It’s not quite as understandable as his peers, but it’s in the realm of normal.
    I hope that #3 has a big breakthrough as some point, too.
    Thanks for sharing such a truthful post. It really took me back in a profound way.

    • Oh I am glad that you found this! It is so hard isn’t it? As I type #3 is crying because he can’t explain to his brothers what he wants. I am so glad for you that your son’s speech took off. Thanks for reading!

  7. Pingback: My son made me cry… | The Orange Rhino Challenge

  8. My son is 2.8 yrs
    My only wish is that he’ll call me mommy it hurts so bad!
    The ear piercing screams, him smacking, or punching himself on the face to the word no, the therapies, me constantly blaming myself thinking where did I go wrong. My hubby constantly saying why can’t he be normal?, feeling embarrassed everytime I go to the store.

    I’m tired and ready to give up!

    • I have been there – I know the pain, the frustration, the embarrassment ALL OF IT. I am so grateful for our speech therapist who we see 2x a week and grateful that I found the patience to not yell back because it does help. For what it is worth, my son is also in Occupational Therapy 2x a week to help with the frustration and some sensory issues that were making it hard to make progress with the speech. Trust your mommy gut – if you think there is something more to it, ask your pediatrician, ask the speech. Email me if you need more support. I can’t promise I’ll get back right away but I will try.

  9. Thanks for sharing. You sound like you are doing a brilliant job. I have been trying to do the same myself with my frustration (and anger in the past) over the behaviour of my son who has ADHD. I don’t want him to think of himself as a bad kid. My mantra that I try to remember when I’m feeling anger or frustration rising is one from the ADHD book by Christopher Green where he stresses the most important thing for ADHD kids (and I think for EVERY kid but especially ones with difficulties) is “Accept and Nurture”. Don’t try to change what you can’t, make them feel accepted for EXACTLY who they are and guide them to be the best they can be. I do my best to impose discipline where something has intentionally been done wrong, but my ideal goal is to spot the things that aren’t naughty, that are more out of his control (being loud, being rough, interrupting, etc) and give him advice rather than abuse, and most importantly to try to find as many things as possible that he does RIGHT and praise him for it. I feel from a bad long patch of exhaustion and anger (which now seems so much more under control thanks to YOU Orange Rhino) that he was starting to see himself as a bad kid, apparently common with ADHD kids, and then there is a tendency for them to think, “oh well I try and I fail I’m hopeless, what’s the point?” which makes their behaviour worse. I hope I have been able to undo the damage. Letting go of my anger makes me enjoy his company more too, focus on the wonderful things about him, and there are so so many of those. I can’t thank you enough for providing us all with this forum of support,

  10. Thank you so much I really needed to read this today. I have two kiddos that are autistic and struggle daily with sensory and speech issues. My daughter is especially a challenge because of screaming fits. I needed the reminder that at those times she really really needs me to show love not anger. You are right after all it is the delays and issues I am actually angry at not her.

  11. Thank you for posting this! This is very honest- and ive felt exactly the same way. My 3.5 year old has a speech delay and sensory issues as well. We knew since 1 that something was wrong..and have pursued alot of avenues. The whining was NONSTOP, even once his speech improved somewhat with therapy. He is on an 18mo speaking level or so…his receptive is equally as delayed as expressive. We continue therapy, but decided to try other things. We had him taken off his medicine for the behavioral issues (instant, extreme reactions to everything, very aggressive when angry, head banging, etc) becuase it was not working anymore, and im not a fan. I finally decided to try something drastic…its his diet change. We saw a NAET professional that let us know what he was sensitive to! I cant explain how the whole thing works in the body here, but simply its like his brain is “on fire” and the wiring isnt working properly. Things we eat have a big effect on our bodies, much more than in a healthy vs not healthy way. My son was found to be sensitive to gluten plus all grains and milk. We also learned that (and we support getting vaccines we just are aware of the CRAP in them that isnt needed…) he could be detoxed of the fillers in vaccines. We started the diet change and vaccine detox and within a month he was a totally different kid. still has speech issues, but his behavior was dramatically improved. He has normal fits here and there but it is no longer and instant BRING THE HOUSE down episode. Its been hard, and requires a lot of committment but im so glad we did….i hope this helps someone!! I completely understand the frustration, lack of patience, and the LONGING to hear “i love you mommy.” Keep on keepin on y’all!

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