Off My List

I’m a worrier.  Yes.  I can admit it.  I worry about my health.  Constantly.  I worry about raising my kids to be polite, independent, self confident, generous and gracious human beings.  I worry about how much my butt is going to jiggle as I walk from my lounge chair to the beach in two weeks.  I worry that I’m going to get a flat tire on the highway with both kids in the car.  I worry that one day I’ll wake up and decide to throw out all of my stilletto heels and cute wedges and swap in every shade of Merrill clogs and Dansko shoes (both sure signs of having just Given Up on style).

Most recently, I’ve been pretty consumed with Luke’s speech.  Or lack there of.  If you were to ask me in recent months if I was worried, I would have laughed it off and told you, No.  I would have proposed that every child develops differently, at their own speed and that I don’t read the books or gauge development by milestones.  I would have defended his lack of words by bragging about his advanced motor skills and brushed off any doubt by explaining that he comprehends EVERYTHING.

But really, what I wasn’t telling you, was that I was worried.  Where were his Words?  Why wasn’t he putting sounds together and saying his name?  Why wasn’t he saying his sister’s name correctly?  Why can’t he ask for anything By Name?  I really thought something was Wrong.  I was getting frustrated, for me AND for him.  And I wasn’t telling anyone this because I didn’t want to hear that I was overthinking or jumping to conclusions.  I didn’t want to hear the label “Worrier” for yet another thing that everyone else thought was Nothing.

So I kept it to myself.

And a few weeks ago I arranged for a state run service to come and give him an evaluation.  Just To See.  I told Tim and although he didn’t agree it was necessary, he wasn’t opposed to it if I felt strongly about getting some answers.  He wanted to shut me up appease me.  I’ve been hoping since I made the appointment that I’d see some improvements and although he gets cuter by the day, nothing really changed as far as his verbal development.

And today was the day.  I woke up with shaky nerves and an upset stomach, wondering what the day would bring.  I dropped Hannah off at school and rushed home to await their arrival, trying to keep Luke busy and stimulated so he could give his best performance for them.  We watched through the window as three cars arrived in the driveway and three women walked toward the front door.  I opened the door as they started down the walkway and Luke ran out in front of me, arms spread, and jumped into the first evaluator’s arms as if she was his long lost BFF.  (Remind me to talk to him sooner rather than later about talking to strangers, K?) He gave the three ladies his warmest, friendliest smile, used one of his 4 clear words, “HI!”, and showed them into the house.

We sat on the floor for an hour with the three women as they moved from one activity to another with him. He correctly identified in a picture book each and every word one woman asked him.  Words I had no idea he had ever heard.  Tea Pot.  Comb. Ape.  Crocodile.  Cap.  He answered questions like, “Which of these do you put on your foot?” by pointing at a boot.  He knew that you watch “cartoons” on a TV.  He knew that milk goes on cereal.  He did a puzzle within seconds and quickly asked for “Mah?” (More).  He saw a man next door out the window, pointed and said, “Daddy?”.  He heard the dog bark and said, “Bell?” (short for Bella). He left the room midway through the exercises and retrieved crackers for himself.  And proceeded to hand one out to each lady as if he was their host.  When asked to “Jump” he bent his knees and threw his arms up in the air without leaving the ground, and then gave himself a round of applause and bowed.

Was he able to repeat the words the speech therapist asked him to repeat?  No.  Besides Ball, and a weak attempt at Baby, he was unable to repeat the other words asked of him.  But he tried.  He sat in front of her, watched her mouth and Tried.  And by trying and showing his mouth Could make the right formations, even if the wrong sounds came out, they told me, “He’s Doing Great”.

They told me Not To Worry.  He is moving along fine (and I’m liking the word Fine these days) and does not need therapy at this point.  He is comprehending at a 2.5 – 3 year old level and speaking at an average 23 month old level.  Normal. Adequate. Okay. All of these words echoed in my head as they were spoken.  Never have I been so happy with Average.

I was told by three people who know what they’re talking about Not To Worry.  EVERYONE is always telling me not to worry but I don’t heed their advice because they don’t know what they’re talking about.  They’re just trying to make me feel better.  These ladies though, these ladies Know because it’s their job to know.

So.  I’m not going to worry.  I’m going to cross Luke’s Speech off my list of worries in my head.  At least for the time being.  Because he’s fine.  And he’s friendly.  And generous with crackers. And polite.  And determined.  And so incredibly sweet.

And I’ll take all of that over speaking, especially if I don’t have to worry, Any Day of the week.



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20 responses to “Off My List

  1. One thing that I’ve had to remind myself of is just how little speech is actually normally for young kids.

    You are taking this all in much better stride than I am, currently.

    • I thought of you Shell as I wrote this. After thinking a lot after the evaluation today, I realized I really do have to put my trust in the system. Nothing is set in stone. We can always look at him again. We can always get another opinion. But for now, he’s so young and I HAVE to give him a chance to develop at his own pace. For him. And for me. Good luck. Please email me to vent ANY time! Hugs.

  2. Oh, sweetie, I am so happy for you! Happy for you and happy for your beautiful, polite, friendly boy.

    You know that I’m a big worrier too and it almost never helps when someone else – other than an expert – tells me “don’t worry.” So, as someone who worries her days away, I say good for you for following your instinct to get an expert opinion.

    And now you can revel in the the relief you must be feeling. Ahh, sweet relief!


  3. This is SO hard. Especially when you are surrounded by other children who seem to be so much more advanced than your child!! I feel the worry nag whispering scary thoughts into my ears about both my kids’ development. And, heck, I graduated in child development! Still, though, the worry doesn’t end.

    As Wolf would say, the worry never ends. It just evolves over time. I trust her.

  4. I am a Worrier, too, and I worry about everything, even after one, two, three, or more experts have told me there’s no need to. It’s exhausting and unsettling and inescapable. How I feel this post, Becca!

  5. Becca, what wonderful news…What a bugger for holding out on you for so long! But, that is the way it goes sometimes.

    As for worry, it was my favorite pastime. Anymore, I find myself letting it go, otherwise, I am depriving myself and my family of peace. And that is something I am not willing to do…

    Big hug to you and the cutie for his well timed performance! I know what relief you must be feeling right now! Bask in the moment!

  6. I’m glad you can cross that off of your list of worries. Now (if you’re like me) you can replace it with something else – yay!

  7. Great news.
    Whit didn’t talk for a very long time – he was evaluated as well, and I can relate to many of the things you say here. And now? Can’t get him to be quiet. I am certain before long Luke will be talking so much and so fast you’ll wonder what you worried about! And generous with crackers? What else is important!?

  8. Luke sounds like a wonderful young gentleman. you’re doing a great job and you have no need to worry. The experts told you so!

    PS – I’m a worrier too. I come by it genetically.

  9. jen

    Yay YOU! Yay LUKE! Those second kids don’t need to talk anyway. They have their Hannahs and Mommies to do it for them. 🙂

  10. I’m so glad it went well! We went down that road with Fynn, and it wasn’t fun at all. The worry… he ended up qualifying for services, and then by the time a spot opened up for him his words had caught up to his comprehension… so we cancelled the services.
    There is so much pressure for the kids to talk at the same time, to be at the same point… but most do it in their own time 🙂 Which is unnerving for a mama, to say the least…

  11. Some friends of ours have a son 7 months older than ours. At 15 months old he had 20-30 words. I was impressed, but didn’t yet realize how completely abnormal that is. Then after watching my son and nephews develop speech at more “normal” paces I realized that comparing my son to our friend’s son was just a recipe for disaster. Nevertheless, during some recent developmental testing I too was so relieved to hear trained professionals tell me that he’s progressing just as he should.

    Congratulations not only on having a healthy and normal little boy, but on having reprieve from some of your worry. And by the way, don’t apologize for your concerns… What kind of mother would you be if you didn’t notice/care??

  12. I’m glad you listened to yourself and sought some advice. But I’m even more glad that Luke is okay, on-track, normal, fine, oKAY.

    And, like Jen said, the second ones (and the third and the fourth and the….) have so many other people to speak for them that maybe it just doesn’t seem so important to say the words.

    Trust me, Ethan is nearly two and I’ve wondered from time to time if I should be concerned. But in my heart I know that there is so much time left…to find out, to learn, to speak, to become like all of us…talking, chatting, voicing incessantly. 🙂

  13. I had the exact same moment with my youngest. Everyone told me not to worry. The thing is you had nothing to lose by checking it out. But if you let it go you could have never forgave yourself. My youngest had a head injury( that I wrote about in a blog), so I was worried. What I learned from the whole experience was: if the benefit comes with no risk then proceed on. If the risk out weighs the benefit then rethink it. Clearly, to have the county services check it out came without risk: so always go with your gut. Mothers knows best. I am glad he is fine.

  14. Nicki

    I am glad that an evaluation has put your mind at ease. You know I am a big one on early intervention if needed so good job, Mom!

    And, don’t worry about your butt on vacation.

  15. Luke sounds like he’s a very thoughtful host already — greetings and crackers! I’m not sure I’ve ever asked myself what age is appropriate to expect that kind of mindfulness toward others. But I don’t think age two would have been my answer.

    So glad you can cross your concern about Luke’s speech off the Worry List.

  16. I totally get this. The worry. About everything. And in particular, about speech. My kids are 18 months apart. At two years of age my first son was carrying on conversations like an 8-year old. A little freaky. At two years old, his baby brother barely spoke. He hummed, he toddled, he was happy. He didn’t throw tantrums. (I worried; his brother’s terrible two’s started at 18 months and lasted until three and a half.)

    Basically, my kid was happy and healthy and seemed to understand everything that was going on. But at two, he had maybe ten words, and didn’t use them very often. Same thing at three. By four, he still spoke little, was completely content – had a few phrases he used. Everyone told me to take him to be tested. I kept telling myself (while only worrying a little) that he was fine. He’d speak when he had something to say.

    Guess what. He did. While everyone was worrying about what he was saying (or not), he was teaching himself to read. I almost got into an accident driving him home for preschool, when he turned from the carseat at a red light, looked out the window, and proceeded to read a billboard aloud.

    He’s still a relatively quiet kid. Especially compared to his gregarious brother. And he still does things in his own way, on his own timetable, head a bit in the clouds. He’s a creative kid. And he speaks when he has something to say.

    I know you’ll still worry. But Luke is obviously FINE (all letters in caps), and HAPPY, and understanding. Sometimes our kids are mysteries, and sometimes that’s cool.

  17. His willingness to try is so sweet! Aren’t they just amazing little creatures. So much resolve and desire to learn.

    I’m happy you found some peace on this issue, I can only imagine how you were feeling.

    And butt jiggle? Girlfriend, I’ve got that one down to a science.

  18. I did the same freaking out when my 2nd child was young. His sister started talking early and he just waited and waited. He would say a word once and then never repeat it again. But once he finally started he went straight to sentences and turned out to be a pretty bright kid. That is how I learned to not freak out too much about the “normal” time frame for kids.

  19. My daughter’s second grade teacher told us we should have her tested because of Rs that sounded like Ws, etc.

    It turns out that if a child is able to make the sound, as opposed to not being able to make the sound (like having a physiological problem in the mouth) it’s a very different scenario. My daughter’s problem disappeared with time, which is good because her name is Rachel (not Wachel!).

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