Well, spring break is over, and I got my little boy back. I haven't worked my life around a spring break since I was in college, and now, here I am, planning around my little boy's school.
Because he is in school -- for the most part.
And he is learning. A lot.
For much of his life, he's been living with only me. Unless we are visiting family, I feel like it's just been B and me. I know he thinks I am cool, and he loves me, but I am his mom. He needs to branch out. See other faces. Hear other voices. Receive different perspectives.
School has been awesome for that. He sees and interacts with other kids. He works with other teachers. He is part of a social hierarchy, if you will, whether he knows it or not (because, as the youngest, he is on the bottom. Ha!).
He is working so hard on talking. So hard. He will now imitate me and others as they slowly speak a word to him. He intently moves his mouth and voice while he watches their lips and listens to their sounds.
He can say some short words and even some people's names! And he certainly enjoys the thunderous applause when he nails a word.
I'm so proud of him.
Of all the areas a child with special needs gets tested in, speech was his weakest. And actually, it is the only area in which he qualifies for continuing special education because his current level is less than half where a normal child would be.
His struggle to speak does not come as a surprise. In fact, I started sign language with him at two months old in preparation. He used his first sign just before he turned one. "More," he signed when he wanted more food.
I nearly fell off my chair.
But here's where the struggle is apparent in him. He is so smart. So smart. He can point to nearly any color, shape, letter, number, animal, object or person you ask. But he can't say it himself.
So when he wants one of those things, he can't always express it, unless he has a sign or a combination of sounds that someone recognizes.
It frustrates him.
But even more than that, I think he feels a bit inadequate about it. He sees other kids (sometimes younger) say what they want. He watches adults converse. He knows exactly what he wants, but can't always convey it.
And let me tell you, when he knows exactly what he wants, that is exactly what he wants, and nothing else will do. For those things, I make sure he has a way to communicate to me, or he would probably spend time pounding his fists on the floor in a tantrum. Luckily, that is rare.
And luckily, he is trying and learning at an accelerated rate. His ability to even try a sound has taken off in the last few months. His ability to make the sound correctly has doubled. And his desire to try each word someone might say is remarkable.
For all this, I thank his speech therapist, Miss Dawn. I thank his grammies and grampies who work so hard with him. I thank his teachers who work with him one-on-one. I thanks the students who take extra time to learn his signs, interact with him and speak clearly to him. I thank each person who has watched him in my absence because they take that time to learn his signs and make him feel comfortable.
I also have to thank myself. It's been a lot. Trial and error for extra programs. Learning some sign language myself. Using extra patience to pay close attention to that magical little boy who just wants to be heard.
It's a lot for everyone involved, but it's so rewarding.
And someday, he will tell us all about it. He will blow our minds with the things he has to say... the things he knows... because there is much wisdom in his eyes.
Thanks for reading and learning with me. As a present, here is a picture of him splashing in puddles.