Rosie was going down for a nap, and Mitchell decided he needed to read her a story. Goodnight Moon, of course.
Yesterday was my birthday! I turned 27. Again. (Don’t bother getting all psychoanalytical on me and pointing out how I’ve grown in the years since I was 27 and how I wouldn’t have my beautiful children if I was still 27 and how it’s ok that I’m not 27 and all that crap. I’m not ready to think of myself as a full-fledged middle-aged adult, so I’m not.)
So. Anyway. There’s a shortage of doctors here in Dayton, and apparently that extends to the whole medical field, because almost two months ago I took the first available appointment for a speech evaluation for Mitchell…on my birthday. Smack dab in the middle of nap time. It was described by the woman setting the appointment as “a bit much for some children” and then, by the end of the conversation, she acknowledged that it was “grueling.” So I had that to look forward to. I’d been going this whole time thinking it was at 2, so I figured we’d go to story time (last one until June), come home, eat lunch, have a bit of quiet time in lieu of nap time, and head over there. They’d told me only one parent was allowed in the room with him during the evaluation, no siblings, so Justin was going to come watch Rosie while I took Mitchell. Well, somehow I completely forgot about story time. I looked at my phone at about 11:30 and noticed that the appointment set 1:00, not 2:00. I thought I’d made a mistake, so I dug out the paperwork, and sure enough, we needed to leave in an hour for the appointment and nobody was dressed or fed yet and Justin had a meeting until 1. So I ran around (literally) getting everybody ready to go. I had really wanted to be relaxed and mellow leading up to the appointment because I had no idea what to expect, but oh well. These things happen.
Luckily Justin’s meeting got out early, so he met us at the office. The worst thing to happen because of my mistake was Justin and me not getting lunch, but that’s not terribly out of the ordinary for me. Plus I had ice cream cake for breakfast, so, calorie-wise, I was probably good for the day.
They ended up allowing all of us into the room with Mitchell for the evaluation, and it wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d expected. The speech therapist (Katie) tried to keep everything relaxed and the tests all resembled games or play. Mitchell wouldn’t say a word to her, though, so she had to rely on us to tell her all his words and habits. And even though we knew how much was riding on this, Justin and I both spent the entire car ride home remembering all the words we forgot to tell her that he knew. But even though we forgot so many of his words, his speech still tested at just 10 points shy of the beginning of the “normal” threshold at 75 (normal is 85 to I think 100, I can’t quite remember). She said he was only moderately delayed. I was pleasantly surprised at this. I figured he would be lower. His language, which is basically understanding or comprehension of words and phrases, tested at or above the normal threshold. The normal threshold is 85-115, and she quit testing when he reached 98 because she said she could tell there was no problem there and she wanted to make sure he was still responsive to the questions that mattered. But the last two questions he answered correctly she was impressed; she said they were for older children.
So, the good news is, she said he’s in a really great position. She diagnosed him with apraxia of speech. She explained that as meaning, basically, he has to think twice as hard about what he wants to say. That’s why he tends to get ahead of himself and repeat syllables and why he says some words very clearly and others are jumbled messes or completely made up. But with weekly speech therapy, he should be completely caught up to his age group within six months to a year.
Here’s where things got a bit weird, emotionally, for me. She started saying all the things we should do at home to help him because there’s a long waiting list to get into therapy. They were things like saying the name of everything very clearly when he asks for it, even if he attempts the word; enunciating the beginning letter sound (“wah, wah, water”); being very encouraging when he attempts a word, even if he butchers it; etc. With every suggestion I got more and more discouraged because we do these things already. I had truly expected to go in there and learn that we were doing everything wrong and if we started doing it THIS way instead, everything would be a-okay. So hearing that we were already doing what we were supposed to be doing made me think that the situation was actually worse than I thought. I finally interrupted her and told her that we already did the things she was saying. Instead of being worried or anything, she said that that explained why he was so far along and doing so well. She said usually, when children have high language and low speech, you get a lot of meltdowns, temper tantrums, or the child gets frustrated and just shuts down and doesn’t even attempt new words. Sometimes the child even quits saying the words they already have. As Justin pointed out when we got home, I can’t compare Mitchell’s progress to other children, I have to think about how he would be without our work with him.
So, that’s where we are. Oddly enough, I’m mostly relieved to know for sure what’s going on. I obviously knew something was going on, so it’s a relief knowing it’s something that won’t follow him throughout his childhood. By the time he hits preschool or kindergarten, he’ll be at the same starting point as all the other kids.
There’s still this little nagging voice accusing me of failing him. I’m sure all mothers have this about something or other in their children, but this just gives me something specific to point to and say, “What did I do wrong? What should I have done differently?” Rationally, I know that it’s not my fault. However, there’s a tiny bit of crazy in me (or a large bit, depending on the
day hour minute), and that bit says I’ve failed my baby.
There was one bit of the evaluation that made Justin and I feel like rock star parents, though. The whole time Katie was talking to Justin and I, Mitchell was playing with a little school bus she’d been using in the evaluation. He was rolling it around, putting the people on it, rolling it a little way, taking the people off, etc. Normal Mitchell play. But at one point she seemed to notice him still playing and said, “He has the longest attention span of any 2-year-old I’ve met! And I’ve met a lot of 2-year-olds!” Justin and I both just kind of said, “Oh, yeah, he’s pretty good” or something else just brushing it off, and she said, “No, really, most kids don’t pay attention through this whole thing. A lot of them don’t even know how to play with these toys anymore. They go for my computer right away or try to swipe across the vocabulary pictures like they’re on a phone or tablet.” So that made me feel a lot better about our parenting! I guess we’ll have to repeat the whole limited-technology thing with Rosie.
Oh, and the other awesome thing last night was that Mitchell came up with two new words out of the blue: mow and pop. When we got home, Justin started mowing so of course Mitchell had to mow, too, and he started running around saying, “Daddy mow, Ya Ya mow!” Then when I opened my presents, I spread out the bubble wrap on the floor for him to pop. As soon as he popped one he got really excited and said, “Ya Ya pop bubble!” I guess he decided that if we were serious enough about it to take him to these tests he’d better start talking. Personally, I would have rather he get motivated BEFORE we spent $340 per test (one speech, one hearing), but hey. Whatever it takes I guess.
For my birthday, Justin got me an awesome statue of a family, Mitchell got me an adorable elephant garden statue, and Rosie got me a movie to watch whenever she goes to sleep. We ate at a yummy pizza place, both kids behaved awesomely (except the slight hiccup when Rosie decided she no longer nurses under a cover, so I had to hang out in the Sears fitting room while Justin and Mitchell ate pizza), Justin made an above-average number of compliments, Dad got me beautiful flowers…basically, I had a great day.
Somehow I have a knack for making bipolar babies. Or else all babies and toddlers are naturally bipolar. Who knows. But we went grocery shopping this morning, and Rosie screamed the whole time while Mitchell grabbed something off the shelf every time I stopped. It was annoying, to say the least. I left the grocery store in a terrible mood and decided to nurse Rosie so the car trip hope wouldn’t be a form of torture. I didn’t even get the boob out before Rosie was just cheerful as can be.
Adorable, eh? Well, Mitchell was not to be outdone. He was sitting in the front seat of the car and started messing with the glove box. He found some band-aids and thought they were stickers, so I explained they were for when you got an “ow”. He smacked his hand on the car seat, said “ow”, and handed me the band-aid box. I laughed so hard it scared Rosie and she started crying. But of course Mitchell got a band-aid.
Nothing terribly exciting, don’t get your hopes up. Lots has been happening lately, and I guess I forgot to update the blog.
Rosie has been in an awesome mood…until Grandpa came to town and she had the opportunity to show off her good mood to someone else. Then she reverted to her old “I hate life” mood. We tried to go out to a birthday dinner on Saturday night, only for me to spend the majority of the meal sitting on a toilet trying to calm her down. Oh, and overhearing a lovely person in the stall next to me ask someone on the other end of her phone call “Who brings a baby to Red Lobster anyway?” Um. Yeah. Because THAT makes me feel better. Who talks on the phone while they pee anyway?
But anyway. Grandpa’s visit was filled with shopping, eating, and a quick trip to the doctor to be told Rosie is still rocking the 34th percentile in weight at 12 lb 7 oz. So we still get to do weight checks. Grandpa’s trip out here was the best birthday present I could’ve gotten, but him leaving was the worst present I received. Ugh. Mitchell is just plain obsessed with his grandpa, and I’m sure once Rosie decides that anybody other than Mommy is worthy of holding her, she’ll be obsessed with him too. Grandpa, Mitchell, Rosie and I went to Ikea for what I thought would be a quick trip, but there’s no such thing as a quick trip to Ikea. Mitchell was hilarious, though, and, if nothing else, has a future as an Ikea salesperson. Every time we entered a new staged room, he would very loudly exclaim, “Oh WOW!”
While here, Grandpa set up a giant train set that he bought for Mitchell a long time ago and I’ve carefully hidden from him ever since. Unfortunately, he found it in the basement a couple weeks ago and totally remembered that I’d told him Grandpa had to set it up for him because Mommy didn’t know how. As soon as Grandpa got here, Mitchell took him to the basement and pointed it out. This train set is the loudest darn thing I’ve ever heard. You can’t even hold a conversation in the same room as it. So of course Mitchell loves it.
Other new things from Mitchell: he’s learned about stoplights and squeals whenever the light turns green. Which is awesome, because Rosie hates the car now and if she manages to sleep through a red light, she definitely doesn’t sleep through Mitchell’s green light announcement. At least I don’t have to pay attention to lights anymore, though, as Mitchell lets me know when I need to hit the gas. Ikea taught him what an arrow is (lighted arrows mark the paths), so green arrows receive special exclamations of “Arrow! Arrow!” Today at the airport, during the 1.5 hour delay, he decided he knew how to say “patty cake” and sang along through the song. I should have taken that as a sign that he was more enthusiastically embracing this whole speech thing, but I remained oblivious and called a car beside me on the way home a choice name. Right away, Mitchell parroted back something that sounded remarkably similar. Sooooo I guess I need to start watching my language. He also started saying “bow”. Grandpa put a bow on him and told him he was a present for Mommy, so now he keeps sticking bows to himself, coming to me and saying “Ya Ya BOW Mama!”
Rosie has started reaching out and grabbing things. Most things are adorable, like her new obsession with grabbing blankets and pulling them up to her face, but some things, like my hair, are less than adorable. Oh well, it’s not like I wore it down very often! She’s also started getting some good belly laughs going. She can only laugh for a few seconds before she gets the hiccups, though.
I thought I was prepared for motherhood. I’m the oldest of five, I babysat plenty of kids, and I worked in the baby room of a couple daycares. I knew I was going to spend my days covered in spit-up and about. I knew about the tantrums, the picky eating, the lack of social outings. I expected the stained clothes, the diapers, the overflowing toy boxes.
Here’s what I didn’t expect: the love. I love my husband. I love my sisters. I love my family. I love my friends. But absolutely nothing could have prepared me for the love I feel for my children. Mitchell is two and a half and I still feel that gut-wrenching love when I look at him. I feel like I could cry when they smile at me. I feel an actual, physical pain in my stomach when I give one of them a hug. When I see Justin playing with them, I feel like the Grinch when his heart grew too big. If I’m separated from one of them too long, my arms start to feel empty, like I’m missing a part of myself. When I hear horror stories about things happening to other children, I get so angry I can’t talk about it. I can’t imagine a parent capable of hurting their own child, and I don’t consider them to be human.
Basically, I’m unbelievably lucky to have this family.
Oh, another thing I wasn’t prepared for: the gas. Whoa.
Rosalynn Elizabeth is three months old today! Can you believe it?
She’s known around here as Rosie, Rosa, Rosita, Baby, Baby Sister, Weewee (that’s all Mitchell there), Little Bit, something that rhymes with Little Bit…it all depends on her mood, my mood, her brother’s mood, whatever.
She’s really starting to get interested in the world around her. I’ve figured out that holding her on my lap facing out buys me some content time. Her favorite activity, though, is laying on the floor or her changing table and having people make faces or noises at her. I think the changing table is her absolute favorite place in the world because she gets to look at the hats, I make faces at her, and she gets naked. All of her favorite things.
She had a very grumpy day yesterday, but other than that she’s been much happier lately. I think yesterday was some stubborn gas. I won’t say that she had an unusual amount of gas yesterday, because she’s one of the gassiest people I’ve ever met, but it wasn’t as free-flowing as usual. Justin likes to point out that she’s DEFINITELY my child.
She has quite a bit more of a routine than Mitchell did at this age. She wakes up by 7:30, but woe be the household that keeps her up past her nap time of 9:30. She’s usually asleep at least an hour for that nap, but if we’re out and about and she’s in the sling she’ll sleep until about 12:30. She also likes to sleep at about 1:00 or 1:30, but that’s a pretty short nap. And the rest of the evening is filled with little 10 minute naps. She will only fall asleep in certain places: her car seat, the ring sling, her swaddler, or watching her mobile in her crib (but only for the 1:30 nap). She’s definitely choosy!
Oh, and during her grumpy day yesterday I had an appointment at the OB/Gyn. As usual, they were running behind, so we spent over an hour in the waiting room. There were two babies there: Rosie and another baby about two months old. Between the two of them, when I was finally called back, we left behind an entire room full of terrified pregnant women. One of the terrified women was the kids’ pediatrician, who is pregnant with twins. At one point her two-year-old said, “Babies crying. Tell them stop crying!” The doctor kind of laughed and said, “Just wait, you’re going to have to get used to this! This is what it’s going to sound like when both of your little sisters get started!” You could see the exact moment when she realized the truth of what she just said. She got very quiet for the rest of the time we were there. Ha. That’s payback for ordering so many darn tests and check-ups!
It’s so nice getting to know her. She’s getting so cuddly. She’s definitely the center of attention around here!
I love spring. And not just because it contains my favorite holiday (my birthday). Winter, it seems, has finally moved on. Thank goodness. This weekend we cleaned the backyard and got the patio ready for play. The one big selling factor of this house is the HUGE backyard. Great for kids, not so great for finding those dog bombs. Somehow, even though these dogs poop cow patties, they manage to hide them.
Anyhow. Mitchell’s thrilled to have more places to drive his cars. Rosie is thrilled to have more things to look at. I’m thrilled to be outside. Justin is thrilled to have a basketball hoop. Basically, we’re a happy family!
Rosalynn is 12 weeks old…a few days ago. Wah wah wah. I promise the picture isn’t quite this old.
She’s getting much more interested in her surroundings. She loves talking to us, and especially likes making faces. We have another weight check this week, so keep your fingers crossed that she’s still gaining! According to her clothes, she is gaining weight AND height! Thanks to her hernia, I have to keep her pants riding pretty low, so we should get plenty of wear out of the 3-6 month pants. But the onesies are already getting a bit tight.
She’s still very sensitive to light and sound when she’s tired. The other day we went out to eat (Yaffa grill – Mediterranean food – YUM) and almost all the walls of the place were windows. Then sun was shining in, which wasn’t a problem while she was awake and sitting up and happy, but as soon as she started to get tired, she got very upset. She wouldn’t even eat when I took her out to the car because it was too bright. I can barely even talk when she’s trying to eat because the sound bothers her so much. I have no idea how this happened with a second child, but somehow, she’s decided she needs it quiet. Which works out very well with a very loud toddler!
Overall, though, she’s definitely coming into her own. I can’t believe how much her face is filling out. And how much she resembles Mitchell! Mitchell still insists on taking pictures with her in the evenings, by the way. It’s adorable.
Also, LOOK AT THESE EYES. Aren’t they GORGEOUS?! They’re a little bit darker than Mitchell’s, and they are outlined by a VERY dark color, almost black.