It was just over 12 months ago when Lex had the operation to have his tonsils and adenoids removed, plus grommets inserted. Since that day, we have noticed significant changes in him – both a willingness to do as he’s told more often AND his behaviour has constantly improved – generally he’s just gotten calmer. BUT he’s still not speaking properly. He understands most of the time – WE THINK – and he’s working his arse off to get the words out, but we’ve got a way to go. I’ve definitely become accustomed to him communicating his needs physically – but it’s very challenging not being 100 percent confident in what your child wants or understanding how they’re feeling.
It’s almost five years now, and as Jax’s speech goes from strength to strength, I’m starting to appreciate what it is like having a child who can communicate with me. In fact, when people say “all you want is for your kids to speak and then when they do, you want them to shut up” – in Jax’s case, I finally appreciate this sentiment. Man that kid doesn’t stop! But after verbal silence for so many years, it’s really lovely too. I just wish he’d reduce the decibels sometimes…. and perhaps his expressive use of the F word….
I watch other parents speaking with their kids and feel a little pang of jealousy. I want that. I want to speak with Lex. I want to know what he thinks, understand how he feels, know his opinions on people, as well as the issues affecting him. I want to know when people embarrass him, because this is a big deal for Lex. However, because he hasn’t been able to tell people to piss off verbally, he has reacted physically, and this is usually when the trouble starts. He’s just an extremely sensitive lad and embarrassing him is not good – most people don’t seem to pay attention to that though. I do because I’m the same. As is Steve.
We are definitely getting there, in a garbled kind of way, as he tries to pull sentences together, with some Lexy words filling the gaps. He started speech therapy a few weeks back and it’s making such a difference. I honestly didn’t think one session a week could do anything for him, because we do so much for him every day, but it’s focused him on his need to speak and as such, it’s really helping. He’s trying harder than ever before.
Because Lex couldn’t hear properly for so long (and we have no idea how long), he’s always just gotten on with whatever he wants to get on with. Most of the time it’s death defying climbing stunts that leave us unable to relax – ever. We can’t let him run off and do what he wants, because we’ll probably find him at the top of a pole or on a roof. It’s just who he is. I think this is the biggest challenge for us. Because we can’t communicate what the real dangers are, we can’t let him go and be totally free. We just don’t know if he appreciates what is reasonable and what is out of the question because he can’t tell us that he does appreciate danger…. ahhhhhhh!
Suffice to say, it’s been bloody hard, and the truth is – I just want him to speak. I need him to speak. I will feel he is safer when he speaks, because I can say ‘hey mate, don’t do that OK?’ And if he says ‘OK mum, roger that,’ then I can relax just a little bit more. We’re at about 50/50 on that front right now, but even that is a significant improvement on 12 months ago.
Then I think of all the other parents whose children may never be able to speak, and my heart goes out to them. In the last five years, I’ve completely understood that communication is the most important thing for me with my kids. But at least I know Lex will communicate, and it’ll be very soon. But my oh my, if I think about the first five years of my little man’s life, the word frustration springs to mind – his and mine.
Our kids are definitely sent to test us and most parents have at least one experience to share! At least I’ve never doubted him along the way. I’m proud of that.
Yours, without the bollocks