I’m writing today as a very tired mama, but one with some perspective, which I’ll tell you about in a few paragraphs. Greg was traveling last week, which left me on my own to work my way through four days of little speech on even less sleep. It was a “necessary evil” bit of week, reinforcing my gut feeling that we do indeed need speech for Jake.
Many people, including myself, have second-guessed the decision to enter Jake into the school district’s early intervention program for speech. “He’s a boy and they talk late”, and “He’ll grow out of it eventually” and “My kid talked very late and did just fine without speech” are a few things I’ve heard many times. And, that’s okay. I’m so thankful that not every little person who stumbles over his or her tongue has to go to speech to get better. I applaud the efforts of parents who CAN do all this without help. I’m glad that some kids do just get over their speech problems.
What this week reminded me of is that Jake isn’t every other kid. Because of his sensory processing disorder, he needs extra help. It was months of “driving” pretzels up his arm and onto his face before he would put one in his mouth. It wasn’t until we introduced his Benik vest that he learned to walk properly. When we started to encourage him to use a fork, he finally began to eat on his own. It seems that our little monkey needs lots of extra time, work, and encouragement before he will “just get over it”.
Coupling his sensory processing disorder with his acid reflux, moving his mouth, tongue, and throat can often be painful and since those pain receptors are still fine tuned, he will continue to talk in a way that is comfortable for him, which means only vowels and soft consonants. They hurt less. Or at least he thinks they will hurt less. Part of our extra work with Jake will be convincing his little throat that it doesn’t actually hurt anymore. That will only happen with time.
The way all of these things flesh out is in a pretty cranky Jake sometimes. I don’t have the heart to count how many mini meltdowns we have in a day, but I know it’s far into the dozens. Jake’s first instinct is to fuss. Then, to try to communicate. If I don’t understand him, which is 95 percent of the time, he collapses again. So, I stop what I’m doing, pick him up, tell him firmly not to whine, and ask gently and repeatedly, “What do you need, sweetheart?”. Eventually, I stumble onto the right answer and we have a few minutes of happy Jake and happy Mama. Then, we start over on the fussing.
With Greg out of town, I had no time away from the cycle of whining. Which was good, since it helped me to realize that it is pretty constant. With no time to run, or whack bits off of our backyard by myself, it brought our world into perspective. Even though that perspective made me wish that there was at least one beer in the house, I’m thankful for the reality check.
So, the next time I hear myself wondering aloud if we really need therapy, I’m going to take myself into the bathroom, look in the mirror and say, “Young lady, you knock that off right now!”
While I was writing the above, Lisa called at we have the next few weeks scheduled out and I will, wondering-free, be very happy to see her and continue to learn what she has to offer.
The other side of my newly gained perspective I mentioned before came in the form of a series of Facebook posts from our friends from college, Heidi and Jason. Their 16 month old daughter is in a hospital in Paris, where their family is staying for a while. A few weeks back, Heidi’s “mama intuition” told her something wasn’t right with their little girl and a scant few hours later, neurosurgeons were removing a mass from her brain. She has spent the last several days in a medically induced coma, but is starting to be brought out of it and show very promising signs of recovery. They are far from recovered yet and could still use your prayers. Please be praying with me for Jason and Heidi and their family.
If you have kids, this would be a good time to go hug them, kiss them, and be so very thankful that whiny or not, they are yours and precious! A little perspective is a very good thing. 🙂