Friday, October 4, 2013

Life Is Happening

This blog has been really quiet, lately. But life hasn't. I would dare to guess that it often happens this way. A blog grows quiet as the life of that particular blogger simultaneously gets louder and louder. Sometimes maybe even so loud that you want to cover your ears and crouch down in a corner somewhere. For just a few minutes, pretending that life is quiet once more.

I started this blog a few months ago with one purpose: to keep my family and friend up to date with the goings-on of our little family as we move from place to place, many miles from home. I hoped that through stories and pictures, my loved ones would have a chance to know my precious son, and feel like a part of his life despite all those miles that separate.

Lately, though, I have been struggling with what to share. It is fun to detail an outing to the zoo, or a day at the pool. But what do you do when a life update means sitting down and opening up about painful events and difficult decisions, because those are the things that are truly occupying all of my thoughts these days?

Many times, I have thought about sitting down and posting something fun like birthday party photos, or details of all the DIY projects affiliated with said birthday party. I mean, there has actually been a lot of joy around here lately, if I'm being truthful. Unfortunately, as it often happens, the heavy things in life cast shadows over those light-hearted, happy moments that probably make the best blog posts. And I just haven't been up for it.

Today, though, I got a fat envelope in the mail. The contents of that envelope probably should have cranked up my life's volume another few notches, but for whatever reason (maybe a chat with my mom or a prayer from a best friend?) things finally got quiet again. So, what do you know? I felt like updating this blog today.

The envelope that came today was lengthy report, detailing the results of a language/communication evaluation on Marty. If you Google "My two-year-old doesn't talk," you will most likely conclude that either your child is autistic, a genius, or perhaps both. Sure, there are plenty of moms posting stories about their child who started talking in full sentences at age three and experienced no delays from that point forward. But let's get real, we parents prefer to jump to extremes. So we chose genius.

I've known for a long while (for about a year) that Marty's language/communication wasn't developing as fast as his peers. And for the past year, it has been more and more obvious each passing month. Now, at two years old, a big stack of papers tells me that my son has a severe problem that, without treatment, could affect his ability to learn for the rest of his life. Oh, and also, according to the test, he is at the level of an 11-month-old when it comes to communication.

Let me say right now that I know my son can learn, and I know he is intelligent. But I've also never heard him call me mama or say his own name. He understands a lot. If you read him a book and ask him, "where is the______?" he will point to the object almost every time. He also follows simple instructions most of the time, and he can actually say many words if you ask or tell him to repeat after you. But as far as expressive, verbal communication (meaning that he thinks something in his mind, and then proceeds to express the want or need through communication that he initiates), he has zero. For some reason, his brain hasn't realized that words can be used as tools of expression.

Funny enough, none of this has really seemed to bother Marty up to this point. And until recently, it really hasn't bothered me that much, either. Although I do dream of the day my son calls out to me by name, I haven't been overly worried or wringing my hands about what to do. I figured he was a late bloomer and would figure it all out in his own time. The actual language problems haven't stressed me out, but I've been tied in knots for the past few weeks because it seems that everyone around me sees these "serious" problems, and I feel like everyone is looking at me and thinking, "why aren't you doing something??" His pre-school director has been pushing me since July to take him in for testing. I waited until he was two (felt that I should give him at least that long to figure things out on his own), and then booked the appointment with the speech pathologist when his pediatrician agreed with the director.

And now these results... In black and white, someone is judging my child (at least that is what it feels like to me). They are telling me that without therapy 3 times a week for a year or more, this language disconnect will not sort itself out. So I guess we are starting therapy soon, which is hard to swallow for me because it feels like finally admitting that there is a real, serious problem.

Well, there it is. In the end I felt like I should write about this journey from the beginning, which would be today. I have no idea what this will all look like in a few months or a year, and I feel totally clueless about even this very second. But if a few months down the road, another mama is going through this mess, maybe our journey will bring her some answers or even just some hope. Because even though I started this post thinking I wanted a little bit of quiet, I just realized that what I really want is some noise! From my baby's lips, in a timely manner thank you very much, and I feel hopeful today because this therapist tells me that her plan is the pathway to all that. So here we go...