It is too hot to write anything; here, have some pictures
That's Hott


I woke up this morning with a weird sickish vibe -- similar to the feeling I get right before flying cross-country. By myself, with four connections.

I had at least three anxiety dreams last night, all of which were about me oversleeping and having to let the evaluation people in while only wearing my underwear. So I woke up at 6 and was dressed and ready and staring at the door by 7.

They came at nine. Two ladies -- one speech pathologist and one special education teacher. They were warm and friendly and lovely. They took one look at Noah and gasped. "He's GORGEOUS!" they gushed. I liked them instantly.

Jason stayed home and we sat on the couch, while I positioned myself best for subtle kicks to his ankle if he got too braggy about Noah's abilities because THIS IS NOT THE TIME FOR THAT. STICK TO THE SCRIPT. ALL IS DIRE AND LOST AND WOE.

They gave Noah a series of puzzles and toys and simple instructions. His Royal Hamness excelled at almost all of them. He looked for praise and smiles and deftly manipulated pennies into a coin slot. He didn't understand when they asked him to find a matching car, because lady, you've got a car right there in your hand, so why would I waste my time finding another one? My time is precious, you know. Gimme that acar.

He scored at 20 months for cognition and receptive language. 21 months for fine motor skills. 26 months for social-emotional.

17 months for expressive language and gross motor.

Five months behind.

But not a 25% delay.

I started to quietly freak out. Do I take their word for it? Them, with their checklist and filled-in-bubble-circle worksheet and some random mathematical formula? Do I take him to a private practice? Do I keep pushing?

Do I really need to keep pushing? Fuck. I'm all lost again.

But then they told me they're qualifying Noah for services anyway.

Turns out there's a bit of back door into our early intervention program. A catch-all diagnosis of "atypical development."

Which for Noah means that he excelled at verbal skills before 12 months (babbling early, expressive jargon, etc.) and then slowed down right at 12 months (slow to point, gesture or wave). And then he's been at a near-standstill for about five months now. That's enough to get him in the door and enough to get him all the free help he needs.

"He could just be a late talker," the speech therapist said. "But I'm certainly not going to take that risk. There's no point, when I know we can help him."

"He just needs a little help," the teacher said. "I can't wait to work with him. I'll bring toys, and we'll play and talk and he'll have tons of fun."

(I was practically weeping with gratitude and relief at this point.)

So in a few weeks Noah will begin weekly sessions with the special ed teacher (the speech pathologists are generally reserved for older, more critical-case kids). She'll come to our house once a week, every week, for at least six months. He'll get a free hearing screen in a week or so, and at least three sessions with an occupational therapist to assess the sensory issues and give us techniques for dealing with them. In the fall we can attend a mock-preschool (run by the early intervention program) together, where he can interact with kids who are facing the same issues, where he won't stand out like a sore, silent little thumb.

I'm so overwhelmed at this point I don't even know what else to say. It's a good kind of overwhelmed, because I honestly can't think of a better outcome. Noah is fine. It is not a major delay. And yet he is still going to get amazing and individualized care and he is going to TALK UP A STORM.

Oh, here come the tears again.

I'm so grateful we live here. I'm so grateful our pediatrician didn't hesitate and didn't drag his feet and I'm so grateful that our friends and family supported us in our decision to make a Big Fucking Deal about this.  And I'm so grateful for all of you, dear little internet people, for giving me hope and help and head pats -- and for loving and cheering Noah on as much and as loud and as often as you do.

(The evaluators were extremely impressed by the depth of our knowledge about speech delays, particularly when I told them I'd chucked all of our non-straw sippy cups, and I apologize for taking credit instead of admitting that yeah, the Internet People told me to do that.)

So I guess, now that we're officially through the dark time of questioning and worry, it's my turn to pass on advice and words of wisdom. The first bit of advice is to mix your self-tanner with body lotion, especially around your elbows. And then I would say, for anybody who is worried about their own kid, to just go ahead and make a Big Fucking Deal about it if you have to. Be it a speech delay or SPD or just a creeping worry because your child is not doing X, Y or Z.

It sucks admitting that there's something wrong with your child, but you aren't doing them any favors by denying that there's something wrong.  I would rather be told I am overreacting than find out later that I underreacted. You aren't wasting anyone's time by getting things checked, by calling your state's early intervention program and jumping through the hoops and in the end, even if everything is fine, you will sleep better knowing that you got it checked out. You are not being neurotic.

You are just being a parent, and that's a wonderful, terrifying, amazing thing to be.



When our son was assessed for a speech delay, he technically scored within normal range for everything. Did you know that 'normal' on a bell curve goes down to the 17th percentile? That's where our son scored for grammar, but he's officially normal. We managed to get services anyway because he speaks in a high pitch. About the time an observant colleague at speech services suggested he should be evaluated for autism, I read that a high pitch can be a marker of autism. So now it's not such a stretch for them to be providing services.

OT isn't covered at all, because SPD isn't covered and our son's gross motor deficiencies come nowhere close to being serious enough to qualify. But we're so happy we decided to go ahead and pay out-of-pocket, because it started making such an obvious difference in only a few weeks.

I just spent a long weekend with family, most of it defending our decision to make this a BIG DEAL. But the only change I'd make would be to have started pushing even earlier.

All this to say: good on ya!


okay, like I mentioned, just came out of post-partum hiding...had to comment on your article from a couple weeks ago, and our son Gavin was 8 lbs 14 oz at birth, but now at 3 years old, he's only 30 lbs, wears 24-month shorts (and even those fall off his skinny non-butt), 3T shirts to cover his belly and only size 7.5 shoes (no kidding!). So your adorable little peanut is not the only one who started off the size of 3-month old and just grew slower outside the womb. :) Hopefully your pediatrician hasn't given you dirty looks for having a little guy (ours did, even though I'm like 5'1" and hubby is 5'9" and our parents are short Now we are waiting to see if his little brother will be the same...
oh, and I agree...please don't cut the hair...those curls are to die for! or as Gavin would say "stop wid-da haihr!!" :)


Thanks for sharing. You are such a good mom. An honest one who is not afraid to show real emotions and who does not care what people would say. Hurray for Amalah, Jason, and of course NOAH!!!
All the way from California.


It does sound like you got the best of all possible outcomes. My little guy goes to an EI playgroup and we both love it. Him, because they do awesomely fun things and he just fits right in and me, because I'm a stay at home mom and it's DROP OFF. (I get all gushy just thinking about it.)


What an excellent end to my day. I'm so happy that you, your doctor, and the state have all taken a proactive approach to this. It's probably nothing, but you are doing the best possible thing for him. Yay for you, yay for the state, and yay for Noah!


Yay! I'm so glad it went well, good luck on the journey ahead, I can't wait to hear more about it, and fabulous advice on the self-tanner. Congrats and sleep well tonight. :-)


I am really just so happy for you. Happy that Noah is going to be AMAZING, he will totally be the cutest kid at mock preschool too! But, so proud of you that you followed through and did what you knew in your heart was right for your family. Noah has the best mommy he could ever ask for. He is one lucky little boy!


Amy, sleep like a log tonight. You have earned it! Our son was 3 before we got him started with services. You had to be three to be tested within our school district and I didn't think to try anything else first, just banked on that.(Our pediatrician was okay with that approach.) Imagine our horror when the speech therapist was absolutely appalled at his speech level. We felt like The World's Shittiest Parents. Fortunately,soon after, we got further (more mature reacting) help and he is now the chattiest 9 year old on the planet. He finished up his IEP last year in 3rd grade and now he's just a regular kid...with a few quirks. But, I gotta tell you most kids have some weird deal going on. THAT'S the norm. And TV? Only helped my son. His teachers were always amazed by his vocabulary and sadly, it was all due to Cartoon Network. Congrats, and look out for Noah--he is on his way!


I am mostly non-confrontational. And pretty awfully passive-agressive.

Having a child taught me to be her biggest advocate and stand-up to people in situations I would normally just avoid.

You are so right.

And I am so happy to hear that Noah gets extra help that percentiles, graphs, and charts may not even say he requires.
But real-life-breathing-type people could see that he would benefit, and those same people were able to facilitate the help.
I'm proud for you. (In the sense that sometimes one might be embarrassed *for* someone else - I am proud *for* you.)


I'm so happy for you, Jason and Noah! Fantastic news!


So happy for you, I can't even say. Oh, except that I just did. Hooray!


My Isaac is 6 tomorrow, it flies and I sort of miss my silent boy who clung to me and his lellow ba ( blanket)but only in the most selfish , he loves me best and I am the only person in the world who knows what he isn't saying kind of way.
Glorious Noah, can't wait to read all about his sessions and progress.


That is great news. Noah is going to soar.


I'm so happy to hear that Noah is going to receive the help he needs. It's like a little boost! How exciting. He'll be talking before you know it.


You're in Maryland, right? We lived in Anne Arundel Co, MD when our twins were born prematurely and the Early Intervention program was awesome. My husband used to say (only half jokingly) that they were so helpful because they needed more kids to ensure continued employment. :) I'm so glad they qualified Noah - I didn't doubt that they would.. they like to help parents who seem proactive in their chid's education.

Also, as an aside - if you ever run across a therapist who you don't "gel" with, don't hesitate to ask for a change. They were happy to accomodate me in that circumstance so I'm honored to be the trailblazer for people who take free services and then complain about the provider, ha.

Good luck! Love your blog and Noah is indeed completely gorgeous.



Good on you and Jason for being kickass parents to your bubba, and getting him what he needs and deserves!


So glad that things are moving so quickly, Amy. So glad there are back doors.


I also made a Big Fucking Deal about suspecting some issues with my baby boy earlier this year. So glad I did, for peace of mind and to quickly correct the issues before they got worse. We ended up qualifying for the Loudoun Co. Va. Early Intervention program and could not be happier. So many people do not even realize these resources are out there! My boy is now wrapping up weekly Physical Therapy and we are "remolding his head" :) (Plagiocephaly and Tortocolis). If you get a gut feeling about something...act on it regardless of what others may think of you. :) Sounds like you had a great appt...congrats!


This made me all teary because we're dealing with the same thing and it makes me happy to know that it's all going to be okay and I should stop freaking out about it. In our case, my daughter's doctor wants to re-evaluate her at her 24 month appt before referring us to EI. Two looooong months.


That's wonderful! I'm so happy for you. As lucky as you are to have a great kid like Noah, I think he's equally lucky to have such a great mom.


Awesome. The free-ness of it all is truly amazing.


HOORAY for Noah, Jason, and you. I'm so excited that you are going to get the help he needs. Yay, yay, yay!

My son just turned 18 months and our pedi told me that she didn't need to see him at 18 months unless we didn't think he was saying enough words. I'm not sure if he is or not. I want to think he is, but what the hell do I know? Because of you, I am calling in the morning to make an appointment. I'd rather her laugh and tell me I'm being silly than waiting until his 2 year appt and feeling awful is she told me he was behind.

Thank you so much for sharing your story! I woke up this morning thinking, "Today's Noah's assessment!" Sad? Indeed. :)


Happy the assessment went well for you guys.

Noah IS gorgeous but it's nice when they gush...


Yay you!


Oh, yeah, BABY. Here's to a peaceful night's sleep.


Tears of joy cominatcha from the other side of town. So thrilled for you.


I'm a huge lurker, I admit.

But I just wanted to let you know that I'm an undergrad in the speech-language-hearing pathology field, and I really can't be more excited to be doing it after following Noah's story.

I can't wait to hear his progress, and get the chance to be that nice lady who tells you your child is gorgeous (because he obviously is!) so thank you. For sharing it. And giving me a pretty good reason which I previously didn't have for wanting to be an SP.


Just keep it all in perspective. When he is 20, but only speaking at the level of a 19 7/12 yr old, will it really matter? I realize this is important and I am happy Noah will get the help he needs. It's a useful tool to keep it all in check though, I can't think of a single (sober) adult who isn't potty trained or didn't learn to walk, for example. These milestones can really mess with a mommy's head though!


Hi, total lurker here just popping in to say that I am so happy for you and the little one.


He is going to be talking before you know it. Talking your ear off, probably. I am glad things went well.


happy happy joy joy happy happy joy joy happy happy joy joy happy happy joy joy happy happy joy joy happy happy joy joy happy happy JOY JOY JOY

That one goes out to Noah. (And any Ren and Stimpy fans out there.)


Oh Amy you made me cry yet again...I am so happy for you all. The teacher sounds awesome.I want to come over and play too! I love how she is so positive about it and enthusiastic about how much fun it is going to be. I'm so happy for you guys that you qualified. What an amazing adventure you have ahead...I think it is going to be filled with many awords, abeers and afun.
I also want you to know that I have emailed the link to your blog to all the moms I know here in Australia. You are having international impact on people my dear. Thank you thank you thank make so many people feel so normal and not alone through your vulnerability. Sending you big hugs from Melbourne...


Of course our adorable, aball loving Noah is atypical, he would never be typical he is just too adelicious! You guys are just awesome parents and I am toasting you right now with a great frozen margarita...hope you are drinking something too, you deserve it! Thanks for sharing and informing and letting us peek in on your sweet life, so glad happiness reigns at the storchalah house tonight!


Yeah (because that hasn't been said enough).

Also, props to you on the "get things checked out" advice. I couldn't agree more.

And one more yeah.

Lisa M

Yay!!!! Noah will charm the socks off his teacher in no time!! He's going to be a talking fool before you know it!!


Dear sister person,

I'm so relieved, this is great news, because you have a plan. You guys are going to be fine.

We're praying for you, or sending positive vibes to the cosmos, or something like that.




Why comment? OMG with this many posts, you'll probably miss me.

But I am so happy I discovered you. So SO happy I read this post, so happy to have those words to remind me to NEVER take any little indiscrepancy for granted. I didn't with my first (we had the same interview, I was on the ball then with Early Intervention). I now have a two year-old who asks me whether a blue cryaon is green? Is the red crayon green? Does this matter? Why, YES, it DOES. Thank you, Amalah. YES, it does matter. And I will call them tomorrow. Even if only to DO MY PART, I will call tomorrow. Just to make sure.

Thank you. I'll be back. I love your blog.

NOW: Offices are all closed. Off to read more about you and your little guy, Noah. :)


I'm glad that the meeting went well and that there is a plan and people to help you guys.

Best of luck to you and your little family!

Mrs. Flinger

Oh, Christ, Amy. I'm all tearing here. Noah, you fucking rock my little world.


Congratulations!!! I'm just jealous that they come to you...I have to take my little guy to a speech therapist twice a week: if she came to me that would be AWESOME!


There's a bazillion and ten comments, but still, I would like to add my YAY!!!!! two cents here. :)


WAHOO! What fantastic news!!! I'm happy-dancing here for you!


very cool. you said it best. there is no better outcome. well, i guess the nice ladies could've given you a million dollars but, you know.


Oh Amy, that is such great news! It must have been so nerve-wracking, sitting there watching them give Noah those tests. I got a little choked up when I read that the teacher said she can't wait to work with him! Noah is terrific, YOU are terrific, it's going to be okay :)

Ms. Huis Herself

*tearing up*

Oh yay for hitting that magic place of 'not TOO delayed' but 'will get help anyway.'

(and also yay for now being able to sleep better at night for you!)


Glad to hear it went so well.

Just one question: what's this about getting rid of the non-straw sippy cups?


OK I TOTALLY freaked out yesterday and couldn't eat for a school-related reason (long paper that is due soon, I ended up getting an extension, whatever) and my husband was convinced that I didn't sleep well because I was too worried about Noah's evaluation.

I totally cheered at this post in a rah rah way when it got to the happy part! I also learned about the straws (thanks whoever told Amy that)...this blog (and the commenters) are preparing me for motherhood, I think.


So glad its all working out for you guys.


Yea! Amalah! Yea! Noah! Yea! Jason!

So glad to hear that the assessment went well, and that Noah is getting assistance. Also so good to hear that you received an evaluation that considered The Whole Noah, and that the professionals were advocates for him along with you. That's just the way it should be!

I just moved to Montgomery County for the early intervention services that we may need down the road for our child. I also work in early intervention services so am doubly glad to hear you had such a good experience. Well, and plus I just really like you, so I guess I'm, um, thrice glad.


So happy for you! I just finished reading all your archives and I think you are one of the funniest and smartest people in the world! Glad that Noah is getting help, don't doubt yourself for a minute!


I'm so glad they set up services. We had this in Connecticut when we lived there, and it is WONDERFUL. Noah will be talking up a storm in no time flat. I loved that they came to my house too, it was a fantastic experience.

Good work, you guys!


Bad Hippie

Sometimes you just have to make a big fucking deal out of things! That was hard for me to learn, because I had The Beavis at 20. But I quickly learned to toughen up and demand answers from doctors, teachers, and caregivers - no matter how silly or inexperienced they thought I was.

And you know what? I was right most of the time.

You're the mom - you know Noah. Fight for what's best...for him.


Nothing like being the 150 thousanth (it's phonetic, ok?) poster.
But, this is awesome, awesome, awesome. Just think of when Noah is way ahead of every other kid just because of this attention he's getting now.

Re: the sippy cup. I get that if there are speech delays you shouldn't give that child a regular sippy cup. But is the research/gossip saying that we should only use the straw variety? I'd like to know now before we go too far with the other kind.

Happy Friday!

Wacky Mommy

After all we've gone through with my daughter's speech therapy, the woes and concerns and is it too much? Is it not enough? I really appreciated this post.

Noah's such a great little tyke.


Thank you! I am sitting here at my desk with tears streaming down my face. I am a pediatric physical therapist (early childhood, outpatient, home health, and school based) and I appreciate hearing your heart. I know there is no way to understand completely what my kids parents go through but you opened up more of the door for me to see. Your picture is beautiful as is Noah!


Yay for a positive outcome! I bet Noah will do amazingly well with a little help from the specialists. And you're right, it really is smart to seek out help, even if it's only a nagging suspicion. They won't laugh at you if your kid tests perfectly.

Heather B.


Which means that he should be calling me "Hedder" in no time.


Not that you need my evaluation/validations, but here it is anyway. Way to Go! You are doing amazing work as a parent.


I agree 100% - always go with your mama instinct and fight for what ever your kid needs. They can't do it for themselves.

I think being an advocate for you child is one of the most important parts of being a parent.


Not that anyone is reading comment number 160, but, just to let everyone know, you don't need your pediatrician's permission to call Early Intervention. You can just call them. At least, in Massachusetts.

Go Noah!


What a great outcome! My mom is a school speech path who started an early childhood speech impact class as well as did early childhood evals as her "summer school teaching." She often gushed about the adorable, amazing kids she was honored to work with, and so I can picture quite clearly in my mind the experience and vibe you must have felt during your eval. Being raised by a speech therapist mom and a special ed teacher dad gives me complete confidence that Noah is in for a lot of help, a lot of fun, and a lot of love. That's one lucky (smart, amazing, handsome, charming, etc.) kid!


I'll admit it -- I waited to check and see how the assesment went until I was safely at work. I didn't want to risk crying in front of my daughter if things didn't go well for you all. I obviously didn't think this one through too well, as I'm crying at work because things did go well. Go Noah! Yay for Social Services doing what they're supposed to -- helping families who need them!


Again with the making me cry! Damn it, woman!

So glad the evaluation went well and that someday you will get a phone call from his 1st grade teacher to let you know that Noah talks too much in class. :-)


My older daughter was such an early talker that it took me a long time (too long?) to get my younger daughter evaluated - she's 2.5 and just starting to string two words together.

I'm so glad I finally made the call. She's just started seeing a speech pathologist every week, and not only does the pathologist give recommendations that I can actually implement with relative ease, but I can already see a difference in her verbalization.

I hope that you guys see the same sort of impressive and immediate results.


I have been praying so hard for this. I am so happy Noah is going to get the help he needs. Yah for his parents MAKING A BIG DEAL!!


Yea! I'm so excited for you. The whole process is nerve wracking, to say the least.


So Happy for you and Noah.


I just wanted to say that we went through the home evaluations in June with our two year old and he his teacher has been coming to our house for over a month now. He has picked up many new words since working with her and makes more attempts to speak with us. I am kicking myself for not doing this sooner.

I am sure Noah will do really well.

Lisa Marie

Yay for Noah! How could the ladies help but want to come back and spend extended periods of time with him? I might move to Maryland just for the chance of seeing him at Target one day. He's precious.

Watch out on the toys when your services start. My friend warned us and we removed everything with batteries because these are considered "passive" toys in the EI world. So hide the loud, obnoxious toys.

On the straw cups, our speech pathologist had us cut the straws down to half-length to make them even better for the mouth muscle development. But watch out, you may end up with one pissed-off toddler when you do it. They get frustrated when they have to work for it.


You have no idea how much I needed to hear that today. Congrats on Noah only being a "bit delayed"!!

The Happy Housewife

Well done you for making a big fucking deal about it. It IS a big fucking deal. I started jumping up and down and waving my arms in the air when my oldest son was about eighteen months, because I just knew Something Was Not Right. Nobody listened. It was a long hard battle but I kicked and screamed all the way until he was diagnosed with autism when he was 11 years old. Imagine that - it took 11 years. The doctor that finally diagnosed him was the only person in all the medical and educational professionals we met along the way who actually admitted that it is the mother, the parent, who knows her child best...
Well Done! And well done Noah! Clever Lad!

The Happy Housewife

Well done you for making a big fucking deal about it. It IS a big fucking deal. I started jumping up and down and waving my arms in the air when my oldest son was about eighteen months, because I just knew Something Was Not Right. Nobody listened. It was a long hard battle but I kicked and screamed all the way until he was diagnosed with autism when he was 11 years old. Imagine that - it took 11 years. The doctor that finally diagnosed him was the only person in all the medical and educational professionals we met along the way who actually admitted that it is the mother, the parent, who knows her child best...
Well Done! And well done Noah! Clever Lad!


I'm late, I'm sorry, I'M LATE, but I am just so happy for you and Noah, Amy. I'm proud of all of you for the way you handled this, and this is just great news.


Relieved indeed. Great professionals you have there and thank you especially for pointing out to people that there is never any harm it checking out your worries and concerns - better to over-react than under-react, does it for me.
Best wishes


That is wonderful news! I'm so glad things are looking up!

mariana perri

I am sooooo happy the evaluation went just fine...
And can you tell me one thing? Do you actually think it is possible for a person to walk into your house,look at Noah's little GORGEOUS face, and NOT tell you you have an amazingly gorgeous kid??? NOT!


I am so happy to hear that the assessment went well. And so happy that you feel great and that everything is going in the right direction. Here is a head pat from me.


Oh, darlin'... I'm so happy for you and sweet baby Noah. Hugs all around. Good for you for getting him the help he needs. Now I hope you'll be able to relax and enjoy that beautiful boy without so much worry.




i'm so happy for you and jason and noah.
i'm going to bore my son's doctor at his 18 month checkout because i'm worried about ash too and it is becoming a Big Deal. i am a neurotic worried mother but thats because i love *l*


This sounds real good to Bossy. Like soon this will all be in your Past Tense.

The comments to this entry are closed.