Jack turns two… and is still a man of few words.

My baby turns two in the morning. TWO! I keep saying it because it just doesn’t seem like it’s possible! The past two years have moved at warp speed and for some reason, two  feels monumentally older than one year and eleven months (and 29 days…). TWO! When Anthony was little, I was so excited for every birthday, and each advancement. When he was 20 months old, if you asked me how old he was, I would have replied, “almost two”. But if you had asked me today how old Jack is, I’d have said one. Maybe one and a half…( or even a 3/4) but definitely not almost two.
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To be honest with you, I’m kind of having a hard time with this. I think there are several reasons. First, I know we are done having babies, and I LOVED the baby stage with both of my boys. I actually went through and gave away a ton of the toys that Jack has outgrown. Many of which were originally Anthony’s. I gave them to a friend who is pregnant with their first, so that helped me tremendously, knowing that they would be put to good use and would continue to be well loved, but it was still a little sad.

I also think it has quite a bit to do with timing. Jack has his first speech therapy appointment tomorrow. Which means, by letting this woman into my house and allowing her to work with my boy, I’d admitting that there is something wrong with my little guy, and that just feels pretty rotten.

Let me go back- I’m pretty sure this is the first I have mentioned about this issue. Well here’s the back story. At the last few check ups, I had mentioned to the pediatrician that I thought Jack was behind in his language. He just wasn’t saying a whole lot of words. Not much more than Dada, Mama, Gigi (my mom’s dog!) and bruh-bruh which is what he calls Anthony (his version of brother). The docs told me that it was not something to worry about just yet. He’s fine, just a late bloomer and with all of the ear infections it’s was not a huge alarm. Well, September rolls around and we get Jack’s tubes put into his ears. I’m not sure why I thought it would happen this way, but I was expecting that as soon as they went in and the fluid problem was cleared out that he would have a laungage explosion, and just start talking up a storm.

He did not.

So, of course, I worried. Then I did the one thing no mom should ever do, ever… I Googled. Needless to say within about 3 minutes I was convinced that there were all kinds of horrifying, life long, devastating problems with him. Then I drank a beer, Then I took a deep breath and went with a more sensible approach!

I have a very dear friend who is an SLP, with whom I had been talking over my concerns until this point. I decided it was time to make the call to ask her for official help. She agreed that it couldn’t hurt to do an evaluation on Jack and we set up a date and time for the official process to begin. At the first evaluation, his numbers showed an above average receptive score, but a blow average expressive. The numbers themselves weren’t horrible, but the large discrepancy between the two scores was much more indicative of a delay. It was time to go to the county program, and also time for a LOT of paperwork.

If you have been through the experience of trying to get assistance through the school, or county, you know that there are a ton of steps to take, and lots of paperwork, evaluations, phone calls, appointments, etc. This is after you figure out who on earth you are supposed to even be talking to! I am very fortunate to have wonderful friends who work at Anthony’s school who pointed me in the right direction, otherwise I’d probably still be sitting here banging my head against my desk.

So, fast forward through 145,321 phone calls, an in-home evaluation, and a lot of anxiety, and we come to the official assessment at the office where the program coordinator and specialists are based. Now because of Jack’s age, he wouldn’t qualify for the early intervention at the school until next school year, which put us through the Infants and Toddlers program. Same idea, but you pay for it. Because they are still affiliated with the county school system there are limits of how much it can cost per month and such, and they still have to adhere to county guidelines, testing, etc, and your child needs to show either a 25% delay, or have an official diagnosis of a delay or disorder.

For the exam there are two specialists, one SLP and one OT (Occupational Therapist). Even though our only area of expressed concern was with Jack’s expressive language, they always do a full examination of all areas to see if there are any other delays, which may or may not be affecting the original troubling area. We walk into the room. The appointment was at 9, which, as ridiculous as it sounds, is still a little early for Mr Country Club. So he rolls in with a piece of toast in his hand. There are 3 ladies waiting in the testing room, a selection of toys including shape sorters, a baby doll, cars, blocks, a short set of stairs, a kid sized chair and table, a cell phone and various other age appropriate items, obviously hand selected to intrigue him, and to showcase his abilities as he plays with them.

I set him down and barely have his jacket off of him, and he takes off, goes to the toy with the pop up doors that you open one at a time by flipping a switch, pressing a button, turning a knob, etc. He opens them all in a flash. He then moves on to the shape sorter, put all of the shapes in the right spot. He then jumps over to the stair case, goes right up, then down. Next, grabs the baby doll, a bottle and the cell phone… pulls the chair over to the little table, sits down, cradles the phone in between his ear and shoulder like he is talking on it and proceeds to feed the baby the bottle. The OT looks at me, laughs, looks at the other two women in the room and says, “well, my testing is complete”. It was crazy! You would have thought he had a list ahead of time of what they were looking for.

During this time the Speech specialist is explaining to me the requirements for program and what the delay needs to be in order to qualify, etc etc. She had said based on the preliminary eval at my house, and on the questions I had answered he appeared to be right on the line, but that it was certainly worth doing the testing to see how it panned out. Well as Jack is on the floor showing off for any playing with to OT, he was doing his usual pointing and yelling if he wanted something instead of trying to use his words. I had been concerned going into this, because I didn’t know how true of a representation he would give considering he was in a strange place, with strange people, and out of his normal routine. Obviously, I didn’t need to worry.

Without dragging this on for hours, here’s what happened. The SLP did qualify him with a delay. She said he was not hitting all of the benchmarks for expressive language for the 17 month old level (he was 23 months at the time of testing). He DID test at or above age level for receptive, cognitive, physical, basically EVERYTHING except for the talking. They formed a plan, set him up for two appointments a month, and assured me that based on how well he understands everything, he should respond really well to therapy. So, here we are.

He has starting trying to say more words, and some of them are very clear, like “Wow, and Oh NO!” (and he has the cutest voice when he does speak) So I really am optimistic going into this… I mean even without words, he is still the loudest baby I have ever met and he always manages to get what he wants, one way or another! It would just be nice to have him ask for things instead of having him rearrange the furniture so that he can climb up and get it himself!

When he was a baby, I had to keep him fed, clean, snuggled and well loved. The easy stuff. Of course we read, we talk about letters, and colors and teach as we go. Now I worry about things like: Will he be able to speak clearly when he gets to school? Will kids make fun of him if he doesn’t? Should I have been performing acts of Shakespeare instead of turning on Jack’s Big Music show while I cooked breakfast?!? Will his life be harder than it needs to be?!

sigh. I know, I know. It’ll be ok. There are worse problems in the world and he is healthy, smart and funny as hell! Even if he remains the strong, silent type, he certainly has a solid career path leading dance parties on cruise ships! 😉

So as my little man turns two, I look at what’s ahead, the exciting stuff, the hard stuff and I just can’t believe how fast time flies! He has brought so much happiness to our family and for all of his crazy antics, I can’t imagine what life would be like without him!

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Hello Ladies, care to join me for dinner?

So, Happy Happy Birthday to my sweet Jack Daniel. (Or as Anthony would have said when he was two: “Happy to YOU!”) We love you little man!
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Tara

Tara is a stay at home mom to two sons. She is a lover of family, friends, food and laughter. Her life is a roller coaster ride full of hilarity, diapers, exercise and fun.

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4 Responses

  1. Cherilyn says:

    Hey Tera, just ran across an article you might like to read called “Should you worry if children are slow to talk? Intervention, if needed, should start early” It’s from deseretnews.com. Because I don’t have your email address and don’t know how to link it here you’ll have to google it. I thought it was worth reading. Thanks!

  2. Amy says:

    Tara, I know, I can’t believe they’re 2 already!! We’re getting some speech therapy for Benjamin too- you’re going to be amazed at what they can do- our therapists have so much knowledge and the good ones make it fun too! happy birthday to Mr. Jack!

  3. Cherilyn says:

    Happy Birthday Jack! You have the perfect mom for you who will love you forever and always! Tera, I’m the queen (along with many others!) of dealing with all of the hurdles to go through in the school system. You are his mom and know when things aren’t right so trust yourself always and never second guess yourself. Take an advocate to your meetings if your husband doesn’t go. My Scott is 18 now. I can’t believe it. He has neurofibromatosis and is intellectually disabled. He also had tubes in a couple of times (one for a permanent tube). He has hearing aids but we got them way to late so be sure to triple check Jack’s hearing. I’m still looking forward to having someone to run with upon my return. I haven’t run now for going on 3 months as I have been dealing with an illness but I seem to be doing better so I better be 100% by then! Deep breathes. No matter the outcome all is well.

    • Tara says:

      Ah Cherilyn, thank you! You are too kind and always have solid advice! I’m sorry to hear that you haven’t been feeling well, but am glad to hear you are on the right track!

      18!!! WOW!! That’s amazing. I’ll be ready for you when you get back! 🙂

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