I was going to get a good night’s rest tonight before my GMAT tomorrow. Incidentally, this is also the test that will make or break me. And then I couldn’t resist clicking the links to some blogs I follow and seeing what everyone is up to these days.
My heart hurts from it. I know it shouldn’t but it does.
I am so happy for my friends who have children who are whizzing through their milestones. I was going to comment. And then I stopped because it hit me.
My baby is amazing. He is smart and funny. He imitates sounds. As soon as you finish a drink at the house, he snatches your glass or cup and promptly runs it to the kitchen sink because he knows that is where it goes, damnit. He has a better sense of direction than I do. He climbs and runs and jumps. You can tell him, “Zachy, give me the phone/ book/ remote/ toy of whatever name/ paper/ pen/ any other obscure object”, and he knows exactly what you want and will hand that object to you. He is, by all rights, a toddler. He has wants and needs now. He is playful. He is fucking unbelievably adorable and people come up to him all of the time in public.
Yet the second reason why my heart hurts.
Because he is toddler and people expect him to say small phrases. Or respond when they ask his name. Or when they say hello or goodbye. Instead he looks at them. He won’t speak. He won’t even attempt. And there is this awkward pause. And he has the wants of a toddler, but he cannot tell us. Sure, they are teaching him to sign. He can now tell us ” more” or “drink”. But that doesn’t tell us if he wants milk or apple juice. or whether “more” means food or play or bedtime stories. And while you are trying to figure it out, he is wanting it and having a meltdown because he does’t understand why in the fuck you will not help him out right then.
Today, we got his hair cut. And the stylist was trying to talk to him. For the first time, I had to explain that he understands but he won’t speak. And then, as if there was something wrong with him that I had to make excuses for him, I followed up by blurting out that he was almost 2 months premature and he is behind is all. As in “please-don’t-think-he’s-a-freak-he’s-not-a-freak-he’s-a-fucking-miracle”. Why? Why do I feel like I have to make excuses? Better yet, why the fuck am I crying right now? Zach is fine. He isn’t even slow, cognitively anyway. When they assessed his cognitive development, he scored above average. WAY above average. The problem isn’t with Zach. The problem is with me.
We want our children to run faster , learn more, be cuter than the others. And then when they don’t, we tend to internalize that like I am doing right now. And when we hear a child is having probems, we assume stuff. Mom smoke/drank/ did drugs while pregnant. The parents are stupid or uneducated or come from a low socioeconomic background. Or they got no prenatal care.
What happens when the mom got the best prenatal care around by some of the best specialists in the field of maternal/fetal medicine? What happens when the family is from a middle class environment? And both have college educations? And the child has an older brother who is freakishly gifted? And when mom is no dummy, was a merit scholar, labeled gifted all of her life? Or maybe mom and dad work too much and noone works with the child? But no, because mom and dad make sacrifices so that one parent is with the child at all times. Went through hell to give the child breastmilk, organic baby food, nurturing, and more. What happens when the parents have done everything right? Well then to have a child have something wrong just slaps everything we believe right back in our faces. Because if all of these things apply to us and there is something wrong, then that means there is no control. That means it could happen to any fucking one of you, too.
So when I tell you my kid won’t talk, and you have that awkward pause, is that what is going on in your mind?
And now it’s worse. Because today, we got Zach’s hair cut. And he is a little boy now insead of a baby, so instead of just a trim, he has a little boy style. It is so fricken cute I cannot stand it. But he looks like a little boy now, which means people will expect more. More awkward pauses.
So if you are one of my mommy-blogger friends here in the blog world and I follow your blog, and you noticed that I haven’t made comments, please do not be offended or think ill of me. I am not wishing this on anyone. I am glad that your children are doing well. I want for them to continue to do so. One day, hopefully soon, I will take pleasure in reading about the new and amazing things they are doing. But it is very, very hard for me to read of the things that your child is doing and mine should be doing and is not. I get angry at our situation, hurt, and then feel guilty for even feeling like that, all because I read a blog post. And then what should I say? “Gee, be glad your child is normal?” No, because then it will make you feel bad for taking pride in the things your child is doing, and I don’t want you to feel like that, either. You should be proud! So I will be abstaining from commenting on some subjects. At least untill I heal a little bit. But I am still reading. I’m still there.