I have always been concerned with your delayed speech but there was also a little part of me that was like, why rush? You will learn to talk and when you do, you won’t shut up. I remember specifically with Olivia sharing these same sentiments. I remember wanting for her to speak and to share with me everything that she was thinking because I was quite curious at the time of what was on a child’s mind. Fast forward four years and I’ve had plenty of moments when I’ve had enough of listening to Olivia. You are no different. Your speech has taken off recently and as expected, I’m ready to put the brakes on this talking machine of yours. Everything I tell you is followed with, ‘why?’ Yes, the dreaded why phase. I took it really seriously at first because I was like, yea, I’m going to tackle this opportunity and teach you about all kinds of things. That lasted about half of a week until I got the sense that you were mocking me – almost a test to see how many ‘whys’ you could ask me until I cracked. The answer is 6.
You’re a demanding backseat driver. When we’re stopped at a red light, you ask, “is it green now?” I proceed to tell you that no it is in fact still red. Red means stop and blah blah blah. We do this at all seventeen traffic lights on the way to Liv’s preschool. When the light turns green, you say with much urgency, “Mom, it’s green now – GO!” Sometimes I have to wait for several cars ahead of me to proceed through the intersection and you’re still back there telling me to move it. You have heckled me in the backseat about going too fast which in all honesty, I”m just trying to avoid adding extra minutes to our discussion about red lights. I just never was aware about how much you studied my driving skills until you were graced with the gift of speech.
You are for the most part obsessed with cars and driving and I’m sure this is a direct result of your love for Lightening McQueen. You are weirdly excited when you get to ride in Dad’s beat up 2002 Honda Civic. There have been times when you and your sister have begged to just sit in it while it’s parked in the front yard. If it means I can sit back with a glass of wine, you can live in the damn thing for all I care.
I am determined that you are going to follow in the footsteps of your Dad and become a runner. I have never seen a kid your age with the strength and stamina that you have. I usually walk Fritz on a mile and a half course and there was one time that you came along with me but downright refused the stroller. You kept up by running eighty percent of the time. It’s impressive except when we’re in stores and I need you to stay close to me. I have to remind you to walk every time we go to Starbucks because you like to bolt to the door immediately after I retrieve my drink so you can be the first out of the store where you then proceed to the red markings on the curb next to the busy street. I know you know to stop but the rest of the Starbucks patrons do not and you create such a flurry of chaos as I hear everyone whisper to each other, oh my goodness, a child just left the store! Did anyone see that child leave without a parent. Where is the parent? Oh, the HUMANITY! I am always in view of you despite me being a few steps back and I will surely have a conversation with you when I catch up to you about running off but I know you’re going to stop. I’m not going to run after you in a panic, screaming with my arms flailing above my head. I know I look like an irresponsible parent in the eyes of the strangers and yes, it can be embarrassing but you’re a kid who likes to run. I could put you on a retractable leash and watch you choke yourself as you run out of slack. Now, that could be entertaining.
We have been taking you and Liv to a lot of baseball games as of late and you are definitely receptive to it. You get downright giddy when we tell you on the way to the car that we’re heading to a game. I would never divulge this information more than thirty minutes before we head out the door or it will be all I hear from you and your sister. You are beyond excited when you see people playing the game in passing and you are exuberant when you find actual baseballs on our walks through the sports park. In fact, I went in to your room to wake you from one of your naps only to discover that you had fallen sleep, clutching your lion in one arm and the baseball in the other hand. It was so cute that I think I accidentally woke you up by eeeeking.
In all fairness, it is wonderful to see you talking. We’re not totally there yet but I have witnessed first hand the frustrations and tears that have come with not being able to vocalize your needs and wants. It’s difficult on many levels and to hear you trying to repeat what you’re hearing, brings tears to my eyes. I’ve always had a sneaking suspicion that you understood a great deal more than you eluded to and it’s definitely apparent now when I hear you attempt to sing back songs. I sing, ‘You Are My Sunshine’ every night to Olivia before bed and I discovered you knew about every fifth word of the song as you tried to join me in a duet. It was clear you knew the whole song but just couldn’t form the words yet with your mouth. It’s adorable and just shows how hard you’ve been working at speech therapy. Even though you hear me from time to time screaming from the other room to be quiet already, I do enjoy listening to you exercising your newfound skill, I just wish you would try out other words like, ‘I love you” and “do you need a refill?” Don’t worry, I’ll be having a discussion with your speech therapist to see about making a couple adjustments to your therapy because these are phrases you’re going to need to nail down pronto.