Sometimes a mom just has to blog. I am going to start my story today, but by no means will it end with this post.
I have four amazing blessings that are called children. Sometimes they are human, sometimes they act like aliens. I’m ok with that.
The story starts eleven short years ago. We were waiting to be matched with a birth family as we hoped to adopt to become parents. We had been through an incredibly deep rollercoaster ride in our attempts to have children. This January will mark eleven years since we we matched with a lovely young couple who were expecting a baby and looking to place this miracle with a family. We were that family.
Excitement and wonder do not even come close to describing the joy we felt upon seeing this small baby become our son. He was the one who was meant to be in our lives all along. We had been waiting for him.
As his babyhood turned into toddlerhood, we watched him grow and change. He was amazing! He may have been slower in his progress developmentally, but it wasn’t anywhere close to concerning for us. He said his first words at 10 months and we were thrilled with how smart he was.
Being our firstborn, we didn’t really know what to expect, but seeing other children his age, especially a good friend’s son, go through the milestones quite a bit sooner than he started making me wonder.
I had to teach him how to roll, sit, crawl, walk (with a lot of encouragement), feed himself and more. This does not seem unusual if you hear it like that. Don’t we all encourage and teach our children how to do these things? Why did other children accomplish these milestones without much encouragement at all? We needed to show him which leg needed to come out first when getting out of the stroller. The task seemed to confuse him.
Even still, I thought he may be a little behind, but then, he was still on the “normal” range, according to the nurses in the “know”. That is, until a nurse asked if I’d taken him to a Speech Pathologist. I looked at her sideways and said “No. He’s been talking since he was 10 months.” I didn’t see what she saw. A few months later, I would find out what she had been hinting at.
Our daughter was born when he was two years old. She sped through the developmental milestones, making me realize that babies do indeed learn many skills just by trying things out. Try things out, she did! She was a child that didn’t let the grass grow under her feet, as the saying goes.
I started seeing other behaviors in our son that concerned me. He was crying often. He didn’t cry all that much as a baby as I would run to soothe him. He was happy to be soothed by me and I was able to give him all my attention. I was happy to do all the things he found difficult. I know now that by doing those things for him, I delayed his development even more. But what did I know? At that point, I didn’t know I would need to push him to try new things. I would need to let him fall and fail.
His speech, by three, was noticeably clear and he could repeat anything we said. His pronounciation was stellar. What I started noticing was that he was repeating everything we said and not coming up with a two-sided conversation. He mimicked like a champ but that’s where his skills ended.
I asked some questions on an adoption forum that I had been a part of for a while. A wise and experienced mom mentioned that I should look into Sensory Processing Disorder (or Sensory Integration Disorder, at the time). I had heard of it before and made my way to the Occupational Therapist. She assessed him and told me he definitely was on the severe spectrum. We started therapy and noticed improvements.
By this time, I knew I needed extra help. I had been trying to potty train him for a couple of years and was having no luck. Again, with him being my first child, I didn’t know what to expect and all I knew was what I read or had heard from others. No one had dealt with what I was dealing with.
We got him into a special preschool and the knowledge the teacher shared with me was enlightening. The support I received in that time of our lives was beyond helpful. I was directed to resources and therapy that I didn’t know existed.
By life’s circumstances and my son’s needs, we were travelling down a road that I had not realized we’d turned onto. Life’s direction was about to get very scenic and I had no clue where we were!