On being different

It's hard.

I don't talk about it often, and never on my blog because I don't need people coming up to me with their "helpful" suggestions at times when I am not ready for it or when those "helpful" suggestions aren't that helpful at all.

But at the same time, keeping it down is hard also. Even between me and The Man, when we do talk about it, we do so tentatively, like we're stepping on something very fragile.


Since he was born, I am used to hearing the word, delay.

He was born little, and so he has always been down at around the 5th percentile, both weight and height wise. To some professionals that have pointed that out, I have learned to reply, yeah, but he is growing steadily. He's never fallen off his "line" on those charts, and never spurted up from it, and instead, he treads along nicely.

Someone's got to be down at the 5th percentile, just like someone's got to be up at the 95th. Not everyone can be in the middle, 50th.

Then it's gross motor delay, fine motor delay. Just like many other NICU babies, he sat up a little later, and crawled a little later. To some professionals that have pointed that out, I have also learned to reply, yeah, but he's developing steadily. He gets to these points a little later, but he gets there consistently - that's what matters.

The kid didn't walk until he was 22 months old, but when he did... one day he just started walking. From a moment of having never walked before, to a moment when he was toddling 3-4 metres between me and The Man, back and forth, back and forth, without any support whatsoever, it wasn't even 5 minutes!

And now it's speech delay.

Being a bilingual family, I knew that kids with two background languages were expected to start a little later than kids who encounter a single language only, so to a paediatrician who suggested half a year ago that we start therapy, I replied, let's wait until he's three and if he hasn't started by then, we'll do it.

I asked her if she thought it was a valid decision to make, she said yes. Bilingual kids do tend to take longer, she agreed.

Three years came and went, and now we're on a referral to start speech therapy at the beginning of term 3.

But with all these little things and some I am not going to get into, I also wonder... I wonder if something else is going on, too.


It's hard to tell at this stage, with children so young it's often either a diagnosis or a waiting period of "let's see if he catches up", and for a while there really isn't much else to do than to simply carry on and see if he catches up, to wait and see how he's developing.

And because of that, I don't want to talk about it, because I don't want labeling. It's not helpful.

To people I trust, I reach out already, and to people who know what they're doing - paediatricians, GPs, therapists - I have been reaching out for a long time already, doing what we feel is beneficial and necessary.

I get pissed off when family members or generally people alike tell me I should be doing this or that, that why does he have that red scar on his cheek, or is he not talking yet, and why is he still in nappies. For crying out loud, people, I feel like saying, do you think I have not noticed!? Do you really think I am not doing anything about it!? Do you really think that what you're saying to me is helpful!?!

I think if it weren't for the position of being a mother, I wouldn't be so argumentative and protective, but I am. It's one thing commenting on what I am like, but when it comes to my children - holy guacamole.

And what's the point of saying it out loud here now, I really don't know, I think I am simply decompressing from having watched Izzy's video above.

9 comments:

  1. Every child is different, for some that means that later they do end up with a label, but to be honest that means you can also get help. But for some kids they are just fine, a little late, but fine. We did speech therapy with eldest as he was later with talking and he didn't get out of nappies till he was 4, but he did get out. He does have a label, but as I've pointed out to him it's not a reason to get out of doing the stuff everyone else does as he's barely labelled at all. Youngest is ASD, but at the same time that label has given us and school help; he was even later talking and they tried to tell me he might never talk. Stupidest thing to ever say to a mum in my opinion, it sounded to me like they were saying "give up, he's a lost cause", my response was "I'll never give up, he'll talk when he's ready", and that's what he did.
    The important thing to me was always that he was himself and he was loved and would be loved no matter what. He's surprised a lot of the "experts" with how far he's come and sometimes he surprises us too, but it makes us immensly happy that he is our lovely wee boy.
    Keep being mummy bear, that's what our kids need no matter what and I know you'll do that!

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  2. Anonymous30.6.14

    Hi, have been following your blog for a while, but never felt need to comment, even I have really enjoyed it. Not sure will the following make you feel better, but I’ll say it anyway. I know personally a girl who wouldn’t walk until she was 2 and half years old, but when she started you couldn’t stop her and at school she was one of the best runners and she’s still very sporty. My neighbours’ son didn’t talk until he was 3 and half or even four years old, but when he started he’s language was already developed ahead to his play mates. I was away for 10 months and I was shocked when I met him and heard the vocabulary he used. My daughter wouldn’t turn from back to front until, when she was 9-10 month old, she got massages and all the rest, but she always waked up in same position, how I put her in bed. But she was lively, happy baby. She wouldn’t crawl until when she was 11 month old, but she walked when she was 15 month old. She wouldn’t read books; not that she couldn’t but she found it difficult to concentrate and they expect at school you do read a lot, especially if you want to get into good school. She’s 12 years old now and doing just fine. She reading books voluntarily and actually really enjoying it, she passed entrance exams to the really good school. It’s easy to get trapped between advisers and norms, but try not to get too stressed; it all works out one point, even if you can’t see light end of the tunnel now.

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    1. Yes, actually, it did feel good reading this :)

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  3. Tundmatu blogilugeja1.7.14

    Ma ei mäleta, kus ma seda kuulsin, aga mulle on meelde jäänud lause "Me näeme suurt vaeva, et oma lapsed rääkima õpetada ja siis soovime ülejäänud elu, et nad vait jääks."

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  4. Daddy bear says: to all those people who care, Thank you.

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    1. Aaaand you're still logged on as me...

      My dear husband, use your own internet browser to comment! :)

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  5. Anonymous4.7.14

    Hi! Sorry to comment on an old post, but this one has been kind of haunting me, and I just didn't happen to have that moment of time to gather my thoughts for a comment when I first read it!

    And gathering my thoughts I realized that all I really wanted to say is that from what is visible on this blog he seems to be one happy child with two loving parents, a beautiful home on a hilltop with stunning views and fields of wildflowers and a real dog to play with. That smile on the picture above - can't go wrong with that :)
    If I lived in the neighbourhood and actually were a friend/acquaintance, I would love to have him over for playdates with my 3.5 year old (and let you have an extra nap or sth in the process).

    I believe he'll be just fine!
    (and even if there should be something - it seems like you two are the kind of parents able to figure it out and enjoy being with him and support him no matter what).

    Wishing you all all the best,
    Misti

    Misti

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    1. Yeah, I've wondered about that...

      It's all in comparison, I think - the feeling of inadequacy comes from comparing to other, "regular" people, and it's easy to forget that everything is a range. That people range from one end all the way to the other, and not just that but EVERY aspect of every person ranges, so someone can be great at talking but crap at reading, and so on.

      And, if I were, say, infertile and then someone told me that I could have a son, but he wouldn't talk at three yet - do I really think I'd cared!? It would've been absolutely meaningless, a little thing that doesn't matter; of course I would've wanted that son.

      So, yeah, it's all in comparison...

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    2. Anonymous8.7.14

      Yep! And while comparison can be helpful - helps notice some things a kid might need some extra help with, like corrective eyeglasses to support eye development, etc. it's really not a good tool to define somebody with, at least not on a personal level. I remember I was secretly and unintentionally feeling somewhat disappointed if my kid was not super-fast in reaching markers - because, you know, he was so SPECIAL, and I would have loved him to be a super kid who walks at 3 months and talks at 4 :P Then I had a serious internal talk with my sub-conscience. Average, above average, below average. How meaningless! It's not that anyone else could take HIS first step for him or hug me like he does. So now I (mostly) sit back and enjoy seeing him grow and admire his own personal world I get glimpses of through observation or conversation. All I really want to do is enjoy the time I'm included in his world and do the best I can to let him grow into a person who's at peace with himself and the world (like I myself knew how to be THAT).

      Anyway, sorry for rambling :)
      -Misti

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