I think everyone experiences something intense with their children – some experience really horrible scenarios, like childhood cancers, and others less intense, such as learning delays or ‘minorish’ accidents. My intense thing is Lex’s speech delay. He’ll be four in November and that means for the past four years I’ve had to interpret his wants and needs based on his actions or various noises. Sometimes he’ll use words or phrases, like a recent favourite “where is it?” But when you ask him what “it” is, he’ll just keep saying where is it? Grrrrrrr it’s frustrating!
Steve and I have both worked so hard with him to develop his verbal communication – speaking to him, getting down to his level and using words for objects he’s asked for, reading to him and so much more – but up until recently, I’ve said it’s not an issue. There are many famous people with amazing minds in the world who didn’t utter a word until after four, and I know that Lex is extremely clever and determined, so I wasn’t worried.
Then bring in Jax, a verbal maestro! He is now two and a half and his language and comprehension is amazing. He knows what he wants and he knows how to ask for it. It has been an incredible relief having a child communicate their needs I’ve got to tell you and Jax never holds back on the communication. I love our little conversations and he is also a very clever little fellow, not to mention bloody funny. He is definitely the man who makes everyone smile when life gets tense.
The other thing that started to concern me with Lex’s speech is that his tongue was all over the place in his mouth when trying to say words. This was probably the first real sign for me that we had an issue. Lex has definitely started trying to speak more (most certainly because of Jax) and it wasn’t until he really started trying to speak that I noticed we had a potential problem.
As any parent knows, any issues that come up with your kids – big or small – are really hard to deal with. I truly believe that parents just want their kids to be “normal,” mainly because we want our kids to have an easy ride in this world. I hate to think that life will be a struggle for either of my lads.
So a couple of months ago I took him to an ear, nose and throat specialist. One look in his ears and down his throat and the verdict was in – he has compressed ear drums and he needs grommets. If you cup your hands over your mouth and speak, that is how Lex hears the world. Poor love, not only is his hearing impaired, he’s got a mother who speaks a million miles an hour, so he’s doubly stuffed!
He also needs to get his tonsils and adenoids removed. He’s snored since he was born and until I saw the specialist, no one had ever told me it wasn’t normal. Apparently no child should snore, so if yours does, get them checked out. We still can’t believe the number of doctors who’ve looked in his ears and no one has ever noticed his ear drums…. But that’s life huh?
All of this has also impacted his behaviour. The tonsils and adenoids mean he doesn’t sleep very well, so he’s tired all the time. But equally, he’s frustrated as hell that no one can understand him so he acts out – not a lot, but enough. It all recently came to a head at his pre-school – a whole other story – where his behaviour got so bad he was basically not welcome anymore. We find it hard to believe that he could ever be that bad because while he can be a shit at home, he’s certainly not unmanageable. There’s another story I’ll write about soon in regards to that school but essentially, for six months, he was physically abused by a teacher and because he didn’t speak, he didn’t tell us – AHHHHH!! But more on that soon.
Anyhoo, it’s been really tough for all of us. Steve and I bend over backwards to make our boys happy – we always have and we always will. We pay attention to them every minute we are with them and will do whatever it takes to make them content with their lot in the world. Life’s hard enough without being ignored by your parents. So it’s really important to us.
Now we just want a happy and contented little man that talks to us about what he wants and how he feels. I can’t wait to have conversations with him. I want him to tell me how he’s feeling, what he enjoyed and what he didn’t + why, not to mention I want him to tell me if anyone hurt him and for him to understand that it is never OK. Those conversations feel a long way away right now, and we are 100 percent banking on this operation being the answer to all of our problems with Lex. If it’s not, we’ll face it, but for now, that is what we are holding on to.
Lex is a sweet, extremely adventurous and very clever little man, and I just want him to walk through this world with ease in his heart and to know he is completely loved and supported, no matter which path he takes.
But for now, I just want to talk to him and when people say to us “you can’t wait for them to speak and then you just want them to shut up.” I can say, with my hand on my heart, that I will never ever want either of my boys to shut up – except when they’re moaning of course!
Yours, without the bollocks
PS: this week Lex went to a new pre-school. In the three days he spent there, his speech has developed a thousand-fold, so maybe his speech delay was due to unhappiness in his old school environment and it was a form of protest? Who knows! So much of this parenting malarkey seems to be guesswork.