Today I feel relieved. For the past 3 months I have been obsessing about something that was brought to my attention regarding my oldest son, Christian. It started with the Regional Center Coordinator who came to my home to evaluate my baby, Elijah: Christian ran in from playing out in the backyard, saw there was someone he doesn't know (which lately seems to turn on the "mute button" for him), muttered something about playing with the water and ran back outside. The RC coordinator said, "Have you ever had your son Christian evaluated for Speech? By three years of age, he should be much clearer than he is." It was like a kick to the stomach for me. I thought, There can't be something wrong with Christian...There just can't be! Followed quickly by thoughts of, Did I miss something because I've been so focused on Elijah's diagnosis of Down syndrome? I had never before that moment thought that something might be askew with Christian's speech. Then I made the mistake of talking to Christian's prechool (Mommy and Me) teacher. She had already wondered if he had a speech issue. But, I always brushed it off because I saw how he was in that class...he hardly ever talked. And since he never talked, she didn't really get a chance to see how he does it. Of course, at home, he talks NON-STOP. About anything. About everything. The preschool teacher brought up all kinds of possible issues: things ranging from simple speech impediments to complex psychological processing issues. I started to panic. We had one speech evaluation that got cancelled on us and it set back the wheels in motion for a few months. In that time, I've seen a huge improvement in Christian's speech and language skills and was beginning to believe that this was not going to be an issue.
Yesterday, after months of anticipation, we got in for a speech and language screening for Christian. I had myself all wired up on the insides before we left for our appointment. I think I was gearing myself up for the worst. I didn't want to be caught off-guard again. I was thinking crazy things like, Great, let's go find out how Mommy screwed up this kid too. Maybe I was too selfish in trying to have my own life and career, and waited too long- leaving my eggs to turn bad and thus turn out children who will have to overcome huge obstacles in life... Yeah. I went there. Not good.
We arrive at the speech pathologist's office and she lures Christian into her office "to talk" with a Thomas the tank engine toy and starts asking him all kinds of questions. I was worried that he would play the "mute" game with her too, but she was amazing. Her tone was fun and upbeat and I could hear him talking away with her. She asked, "What is your favorite food Christian? I like pizza." Christian said, "I like Ravioli." (I chuckled. Yes, he does really love ravioli and eats it almost everytime he goes to his Nana's house.) She would ask him to say a sentence and he repeated it with enough clarity that I could hear and understand it from the waiting room. I was glad that at least he was talking and being himself so that she could properly assess him! She brought him out and said, "Well, this boy is doing beautifully. He has absolutely NO issues whatsoever! His sentence structure is beautiful- in fact above average for his age. He makes some sound mistakes, like w's for l's and t's for ch, but it is all age appropriate. You're doing a great job with him, Mommy and there is nothing to worry about." I nearly collapsed from relief. I really, really REALLY needed to hear some good news about one of my children. It's been awhile since I haven't been worried about one of my kids, and when I think back to the news from the speech therapist yesterday, I have to remind myself that it wasn't a dream. Christian really is okay. (Not that needing some speech therapy isn't okay. It's just the thought of having multiple therapies for Elijah and then adding therapy for Christian just seemed like a little more than I can handle right now. )
And today, I got a wonderful gift: the elusive Christian cat-nap...caught on film:
Life with my boys has been pretty full-force lately. Charles has been in and out of town for work in San Fransisco and it leaves me as full, Full-time Mom, business owner (with 4 major events around the corner), and ballet teacher. At every nap and night time I am trying to get work done, and feeling like I'm just failing across the board- not being a good Mommy and not being the kind of attention-to-detail event designer that I know I am. (Ballet is my one release, but by the time I finish teaching 6 classes, I'm so wiped out physically, that trying to get anything else done, is impossible.) I think I have underestimated just how much my hubby does for me and our boys. (I said it, Babe. You will always have this post to refer back to and say, "Look you said it!") He is great about making sure that I get a little "me" time, and I am better at everything when I have time to decompress and do fun stuff (or nothing at all). Lately, I look longingly at picturesque scenes in Southern Living or Sunset magazine...thinking about what it would be like to walk on an empty road in the dense fog, surrounded by brightly colored, leafy trees. I would have on some cozy boots, not meant for hiking, but strong enough to keep me comfortable and warm. I'd be bundled into a thick wool sweater and hat and see my breath in the air. I'd hear only the sound of my own footsteps. I would walk for an hour...uninteruppted, knowing that everyone I loved was safe and happy and warm and waiting for me at the charming log cabin at the end of the small path off the main road...with hot chocolate to tame the chill in my bones... Sigh. *I feel like I just had a small moment of that, by just dreaming it.* A girl can dream, right? I'm thinking that soon I will need some of that. Not just dreaming, but actual me-and-nature alone time. I used to hike weekly and loved it. It just takes on a whole new meaning now with a preschooler and baby to tote. Not quite the same stress-buster that it was as a single woman with her dog.
So, while we don't have the weather, the empty road OR the colored trees for me to de-stress to, I did have a beautiful moment with my boys this afternoon. We spread a blanket in the backyard, under the market umbrella to protect us from the beating down sun, and brought cookies and a coffee for me (needed that caffeine burst) outside to enjoy. I laid Elijah on the blanket in front of me, grabbed onto his hands and assisted him into a full stand (in which he held a good 50% of his own weight) and sang, "Sooooo Big!!" He laughed and laughed at his little achievement, and Christian laughed along with him, shouting, "My turn! My turn!" So, I put him in my lap (quite a feat) grabbed his hands and when he stood up, said with just as much enthusiasm, "Sooooo Big!" ...And he laughed and laughed too.
An empty country road sounds pretty great right now, but the sound of my boys laughing IS my country road. My own quirky, busy, loud, demanding... country road.