Look! Filler!

(I meant this entry to be funny but it got away from me somewhere and turned out all sappy)

A big manilla envelope arrived in the mail yesterday -- a welcome package from the Early Intervention people. It was addressed specifically to Noah, and cover letter was both exceedingly chipper (Dear Family! Hi! Welcome! Thank you SO MUCH for submitting an application! It was just what we wanted and exactly the right size.) and kind of vague (Someone from our staff will contact you by phone. More information will be available at that time. This letter will self-destruct if fed through a shredder.).

The package included several helpful worksheets and "Help Your Child Learn to Talk!" checklists, most of which boiled down to: Have ya tried reading to your kid, jackass?


I was folding laundry in our bedroom yesterday, and Noah was down the hall in his room. Reading book after book after book. He'd pull a book off his shelf and slowly page through it, pointing at objects he recognized, cocking his head and pondering ones he didn't. Then he'd close the book with a soft sigh and reach for a new one. He didn't say a word.

I debated joining him. I should be reading those books TO him. I should be labeling all the pictures and asking him questions and trying to get him to say the words instead of pointing. Maybe work on some sign language! Hover! Teach! Intervene!

I kept folding laundry instead. After 10 minutes I finally heard him speak: Oh no! Oh no!

I went to his room. He was looking at The Giving Tree, which I haven't read to him since he was tiny. It's too long for a toddler, I think; it's black-and-white; there are no pictures of aballs and it makes me fucking cry every fucking time.

He was on the page where the little boy has cut the tree down.

"Oh NO!" he said to me, pointing at the sad little stump. "Oh NO."

I crouched down next to him and explained that yes, the little boy had cut the tree down, and yes, the tree was sad.

"Oh no," he kept saying. His eyes teared up. He reached out for a hug.

I turned the page and kept reading, despite the huge lump in my own throat. The boy comes back. The tree has nothing left, except itself, and in the end, that's all the boy needs after all.

And the tree was happy.

I remember the first time I read that book to Noah. I started crying halfway through because I GOT IT, finally. I was the tree, he was my boy, and the job of sending him off into the world would require so much sacrifice and selflessness on my part, but as long as he was happy, I would be happy. I sobbed because it was all too frightening and beautiful and I wondered if I could handle it.

I have no idea how Noah understood that the tree had been cut down. I have no idea how he knew there was something wrong. But I know he did.

"Oh NO."

I hugged him awhile longer before he wriggled away and ran down the hallway, laughing and yelping in gibberish. Even without words, I knew he wanted me to chase him. So I did.

And the tree was happy.




Amy - this was a great post. I actually found myself tearing up. Real tears! Proof that my "cold, cold heart" can be touched. And further proof that you're an amazing writer as well as an amazing Mom.


Yes, I am snuffly too. Noah is beautiful and perfect.

Oh, and, Einstein was a late talker too. Didn't hurt him.


He's beautiful, he's perfect, and I am, once again, crying at work. Dammit.

Oh, and if that one makes you cry? And I'll Love You Forever? Try The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado. Uh, no. No tears shed there.

Makeup...tissue...must find...

Miss Britt

There is a book called Love You Forever that my son now has to read to me, although the original routine was me reading it to him. But I can never get through the entire thing without crying.

The mommy sings, "I'll love you forever, I'll love you for always, as long as I'm living, my baby you'll be."

And... fuck I'm sitting here teary again...


That books makes ME fucking cry every fucking time, and now you've got me crying thinking about it, and your sweet boy, and COME ON.

Wacky Mommy

Crying now. Thanks.

Did someone already say Velveteen Rabbit? That one does me in every time.


I tear up every time I even think about the Giving Tree!


Amy, YOU make me cry at any random time. I don't even have kids. But through you I can see the beauty and am envious.

Gorgeous post.


three years from now this will all be long behind you and he will be talking his face off and you will think your ears are going to explode from the lack of silence. you will wonder why on earth you were so worried. but that's what you have to go through. you have to go from here to there. you will both be fine. he is obviously bright and charming and lovely and you will both be fine.


That was one of the most touching things I have read. Your boy - he is something else. He clearly has a great deal of compassion and understanding, which will get him farther in life than anything else. I work with special needs preschoolers, and I am constantly amazed at what gifts they have to make up for whatever they are struggling with.

You are truly blessed with your boy.


First Harry Potter, now this. I haven't cried so much in I can't remember when.

Noah knew what happened to the tree because he's one smart little cookie. Seriously, this not-quite-talking thing is going to be a distant memory for you someday, I am convinced. Your little guy is sharp as a tack and cute as hell to boot.


Clearly, that kid is a genius. When he finally starts talking, I bet it is just going to be a complete flood of words and ideas. I cannot WAIT to hear all the genius things to come out of his mouth. I bet he's already got a bunch of great stories ready to come out, he's just trying to figure out how to tell us.


Yep that got me to have a good cry. Just aw and oh and sniffles all over. What an adorable and SMART child! Clearly he is very perceptive and you are a very loving and good mother, don't ever doubt any of that! =)


Not. Autism. Not with that. See what he did? Emotional connection. Not with just a book, but with you. because of the book. Not Autism.

bad penguin

you and the Giving Tree just made me cry a little. I had to pretend I was sneezing so Robert across the hall wouldn't think I was nuts.

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