With Your Cards To Your Chest, Walking On Your Toes
July 14, 2007
<blah blah insert insincere apology for not posting yesterday here blah>
I woke up in a terrible, horrible self-pitying funk on Friday. Noah was humming away in his crib and...all I heard was a symptom on a checklist. (I should clarify that Noah's babbling is not really "babbling" sometimes -- he usually just hums a steady vowel sound but changes his pitch and inflection. He mimics the melody of speech but not the lyrics.) It wasn't my son, it was my son's "disorder," and the realization that I was letting this "thing" change how I look at him sent me on a huge crying jag.
And I know (AH KNOW) that this thing is not a big huge serious thing. In the realm of big huge serious things, this is a blip. A trifle. A story we will one day laugh about, probably while trying to have an adult conversation over the din of Noah's VERY IMPORTANT STORY ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED ON DORA TODAY MAMA, DORA WENT OVER THE TROLL BRIDGE AND YOU KNOW WHAT? MAMA? YOU KNOW WHAT? THE TROLL WAS GRUMPY.
But while this is a tiny thing, this is also MY BABY we are talking about. My baby, who is struggling. Who is getting labeled with Big Bad Scary Words. Who needs help and seriously, Montgomery County Department of Health & Human Services Infants & Toddlers Early Intervention Division, I left a message over an hour ago and you haven't called me back and I NEED YOU TO COME HELP MAH BABY.
A friend called on Friday night to find out if everything was still okay/fine/perfect, since I didn't post at all. I told her I couldn't bear to publish another entry harping about it, because you know. The Interweb Pain Olympics. The nice, supportive comments eventually morph into people telling me to Get Over It, Let Me Tell You About My Kid's Cancer Or Don't You Know That So-And-So Has It Worse And So-And-So's Baby Just Died And I've Had 37 Miscarriages, You Selfish Whore.
"I'm just trying to keep everything in perspective," I told her. "I can't write about how upset I am, because I shouldn't be this upset. He needs speech therapy, not a fucking brain transplant."
"What the fuck," she said. "Get mad. It's okay to get mad. It's okay to admit that this sucks, that this isn't what you wanted for your kid and you are mad about it. I don't care if you read some blog about somebody giving birth to a four-headed autistic monkey child who already has breast cancer, it's fucking okay to get mad."
So hi. I am fine. I am keeping things in perspective. I am also a little mad, a little frightened and would chew my right arm off if it meant all of this would go away and Noah could talk.
After talking to some friends and wonderful Internet strangers, I've submitted an application to our county's early intervention program, which is supposedly the best in the area. And free! FREE. After living in DC for so long, the idea of state-run services that you can actually use and aren't total crap is blowing my mind. It's like we moved to a whole 'nother country. After months of doubting (and yes, even regretting) our decision to move here, it looks like it may have been the best thing we possibly could have done.
It'll take about two weeks to process our application and get an assessment scheduled. In the meantime, I managed to hustle myself a discount on some Signing Time DVDS (if by "hustle" you mean "opened up an email from someone who works there offering a discount, then crying some more because YOU PEOPLE ARE ALL SO WONDERFUL").
(And now it's time for another parenthetical tangent! I want to clarify that the earlier posts about the Bilingual Sign Language Genius Child at Gymboree were NOT any kind of slam or mockery of the idea of baby sign language. Not at all. I tried signing with Noah early on, but he never picked up any of it and I got lazy and let it go. My issue with the Bilingual Sign Language Genius Child was wholly and totally about her mother's awful and obnoxious superiority complex about it. Her daughter was incredibly sweet and smart, but her mother! Oh my God, she was terrible. I try very hard to not use my blog as some kind of passive-aggressive bashing ground, but this woman made me want to stab myself in the fucking eyeballs. She was show-offy and pushy and and would never ever shut up about all the classes and activities her daughter was enrolled in and blah blah blah, she just soaks this stuff up like a sponge, she craves being challenged, she's just so smart. HATE. BURNING IRRATIONAL HATE. LOOK. I KNOW THE SIGN FOR BIRD. LET ME SHOW IT TO YOU. IT'S ALL ABOUT THE FLIPPING WRIST ACTION.)
Anyway. I am really fucking grateful for you guys. I need to tell you that. I have read every comment. Every email. And I have repeated your stories to friends and family to help them understand what we're dealing with and read at least two dozen hundred of them out loud to Jason (who, if we may keep this between us, is fuh-reaked out and possibly had to leave work early on Thursday because he was so rattled, and my God, that man worships that child). You have helped us immeasurably.
I mean, have you Googled "sensory processing disorder toddler speech delay" lately? Have you seen the horrible no-good death-destruction-DOOOOOOM stuff that comes up? I understand it's a new thing, and still a relatively squishy kind of diagnosis, but my God, those symptom checklists? It's a wonder that ANY of us can get through the day without a temper tantrum because OMG CEILING FANS AND POLYESTER CLOTHING! I'M OVERSTIMULATED! I'M OVERSTIMULATED!
But I also understand what a relief it is to have something -- anything -- that finally seems to explain why your child is different. To look at the checklist and sense that satisfying *click* as your child snaps in like a puzzle piece. A diagnosis that "qualifies" you to get the help you need.
If Noah does have an SID/SPD, I believe it's a very mild one. We have the toe walking, the food texture issues, drooling and an increasing resistance to transitions. (Carseat! NOOOO! Out of the carseat! NOOOOOO! Inside/Outside! NOOOOOOO! Parachute time! AM GOING TO DIE NOOOOO!) We have a kid who is different, in ways I'm not sure I can articulate.
But mostly, we have a kid who desperately wants to talk. A kid who understands most of what we say and who doesn't understand why we don't understand what he says. A kid who is sweet and affectionate with everyone except that other kid on a playdate who knows how to ask for juice. Then he pushes. He hits.
The last 48 hours or so have been....weird, honestly. It's like someone just turned on the lights, and holy crap, they're 400-watt bulbs.
It's shockingly clear to me now that this is not temperament. This is not something he is just going to "snap out of" and start talking in sentences one random day. This is not something I am going to gamble with because I'm suspicious of all this "sensory" bullshit and whatever, in my day we didn't care if kids didn't start talking by age seven and also. Snow. Uphill. Both ways.
This is a blip. A trifle. This is something we're going to overcome.