A Different Kind of Okay
One-Track Mind

With Your Cards To Your Chest, Walking On Your Toes

<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.



Been there, done that. I won't bore you with my story, I think you've been inundated enough already. I do think sign language is a good thing. My kids learned in kindergarten at their Montessori school. I guess it helps them slow down so that they enunciate their sounds better.

Good luck on your journey.


oh, and I forgot to mention that you have every right to be upset! My daughter is 3 and tends to stutter quite a bit. It was mentioned to me that I should look into speech therapy and I LOST MY SHIT! The little girl I worked to hard to bring into this world, whose smile lights up my soul is struggling for something. The thought of her struggling to get out a thought or have a simple conversation haunts me to the bone.

BUT something you should remember about the things you find online regarding this...anyone can make a website. SO try to stick to websites that you know you can trust to be accurate, Johns Hopkins or Mayo clinic. Any schmuck who has any type of thoughts or random knowledge about the subject can write down anything, even if it's not true! Trust your own instict and give Noah a million hugs a day, it helps!


'Normal' is a setting on a dryer.

Rock on, Amalah.

I want trike pics.


Funny comic I thought might be apt: http://comics.com/comics/fminus/archive/fminus-20070714.html

Some of us just take a little longer to catch up to the other over achievers, but like the tortoise and the hare; slow and steady wins the race.


I don't have any words of wisdom except...

I Fucking Adore you.

It will all be okay, and we all love Noah in a special kind of, "don't know him in real life, but if we did, he would have so many grown ups fawning over him because he is the cutest thing to ever walk to planet" kind of way.

He will grow up to simultaneously cure cancer and find an alternative energy source, and you will look back at this week and think....hah!

It will all be okay, and we are all giving you big ol' internety squooshy hugs! (the non-weird kind!)



Just because what you are facing is not as extreme doesn't mean it isn't as significant and important and frustrating, etc.


what you are going through, it IS imporant and deeply affects your life. I'd be scared as hell and I would tell everyone, even the four-headed autistic monkey child's mother. good for you for standing up when you thought something was wrong. Noah is such a lucky boy. Be strong, and please keep the interwebs posted on Noah's progess.


There are good things (like, your blog) and bad things (lists of symptoms from Google) about the internets.


You mentioned "an increasing resistance to transitions"? Is that really a symptom? Oh my God, that's every 2-year-old on the planet! My son's two and a half and DEFINITELY has "an increasing resistance to transitions"! Everything is an issue now, from getting dressed to getting in the car to doing stuff he loves to do but suddenly will NOT do just because I mentioned the possibility of doing it!

I'm just glad Noah has parents who care enough to notice things like this and get help for him, not that it's a Big Deal. It's really not. Yep, ten years from now you'll look back at this and laugh. But I totally understand the effect it's had on you. I'd be the same way.

Fraulein N

I wanted to say I'm sorry, but then I realize that sounds like this is some kind of disaster or something. And even if it feels that way for you right now (which I imagine is totally normal), I realized what I really wanted to say is that I'm happy for Noah that he has parents who love him enough and pay enough attention to him to know when something Ain't Right. So many kids don't have that. I'm also happy that, thanks to your concern, he's going to be getting the help that he needs. Also: it's free, which is always good.

I don't know anything about his condition (? situation? disorder? issues? shit I don't even know what to call this without sounding either alarmist or too nonchalant) but I imagine it helps to have parents who love him and try their best.


First of all, I'm sorry. It sucks anytime that something is not quite right with your child. I have a daughter with Down's and a son who is GT (in the true neurotic way- including walks on his toes at 12 years old)
Get into ECI, it's a G-dsend. Also, have Noah's hearing checked if you haven't already, just for good measure. We are in "special ed" for our six year old son, also speech delayed. In our school system that is the only way to get him therapy, through special ed. It about killed his Dad to sign those papers, but we are getting him what he needs. Fuck the labels- as a society we are label obsessed. He's Noah, he's your son, the only labels you need to know.


Hey Amy,

I have a friend who is a therapist for kids with SID/SPD and he always has wonderful, encouraging stories to share. Kids with even the most severe form of it always make some kind of improvement. Once kids get the training they need - things start going a lot better. Find a good therapist and someday when Noah is some famous public speaker you'll all look back on this and laugh.


Not sure about the services in MD? but we live in WV and my daughter was born 3 months premature. Due to this the doctors anticipated some deelopmental delays and recommended us for the Birth - Three program. This program matches you with physical therapists, speech therapists, developmental specialists, just about any kind of therapy or guidance your child might need to help them to grow and learn to communicate and everything. They worked with Victoria for two years and all I can say is that if the folks in Montgomery County are as good as the therapist we had, then Noah will be talking up a storm quicker than you would think could happen. We also did some of the signs with the therapist - not fluent by any means, just simple words for basic communication; like please, thank you, more, no, music, the colors. With us reinforcing what the therapist taught, we were able to really start understanding and helping Victoria.


Same old:

Many boy cousins. All start to talk then stop, but totally understand what you're saying. Speech therapy = eventually chatty cousins.


Just wanted to let you know...
Write about it.
Be mad about it.
Vent away.
We'll still be here.
Thinking of you, Jason and Noah.

Katie Kat

I almost CHEERED when you were telling about how your friend told you it was okay to get mad! I think more of "us" (parents) SHOULD get mad and upset and let our own feelings sort out when we find out disturbing things about these little tiny critters we are trying so very hard to raise. Of COURSE it upsets us! And there is nothing wrong with expressing that. You just get 1,000 times the reaction because we interwebs folks inundate you with countless stories, ad nauseum!

And, here's the thing to remember -- you can ONLY relate and deal with what YOU are going through. Don't let anyone tell you that you don't have the RIGHT to be upset just because Noah's problem isn't "bad enough" in their opinion. I always hated it when people would say "You have no real reason to be depressed -- look how wonderful your life is... how BLESSED you are!" I was all - erm... FUCK YOU?

You can only deal with what is put before you, and find a way to modify it and integrate it into your own way of dealing. You and Jason will find your own way, and we'll all be here for you as well!!! :)


I know I am one voice in the crowd, probably repeating what many others have already said, but I just wanted to say I don't think you're overreacting, and I agree with your friend. You are totally allowed to have feelings about this. Just because it's not the most dire circumstance in the history of the world that could possibly happen or has happened to some other family doesn't mean it doesn't affect you. You should care. You should have feelings about it. You wouldn't be a human being if you didn't.

I think, when people call you overdramatic, they are remembering a time when your blog, at the very beginning, was about the drama, that it was your schtick as the Queen of Everything. But since you've become a mother, it's less about having a schtick and more about you as a person, a mother, and this huge journey you've undertaken with starting a family. I think people have you pigeonholed as a drama queen when it's really been a long time since you've written under the guise of your old schtick. So those comments that you're a Selfish Whore for having feelings are off base. You're allowed. Let yourself.

And best wishes for Noah's interaction with the therapy ahead of him. I'm sure you're right about this being a small thing and Noah will flourish with the right information and treatment.

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