Wednesday, November 9, 2011

the want of a child

This morning, we had G evaluated for a speech delay. At the age of 17 months (and 5 days), he has no words. The most he'll say is something that kinda sorta sounds like moo if you ask what a cow says. But he'll turn right around and give the same noise for a monkey or kitty.


We got the answer that we pretty much expected: check back later. His other skills are so high - he tested great for even the 18-24 range - that he wouldn't qualify until later. Basically, we're supposed to check back at 20-22 months if he's still not saying anything.

Anyway, I was amazed at how quickly G took to the evaluator who came to our house. He can be quite poker-faced with people he doesn't know, but he was showing her his dimples in a matter of minutes. I think she was quite charmed by him. As she was leaving, she called him a rather "pleasant" kid, and yes, he is actually very pleasant most of the time. We get comments all the time about how well behaved he is. Sometimes I do want to scoff that they're lucky to see him when he's having a good moment, but really, G's bad moments are really not all that bad.

I've gotten a bit off track, as my main point of this post was that I've come to realize that my kid is an actual kid now. And what I mean is that he has feelings. I don't think babies have much in the way of feelings when they're tiny. You can hurt them in the sense that they won't feel secure where they are - as a small baby, G hated being passed around among people he didn't know - but I wouldn't say you could hurt their feelings like you can that of a child.

Sometime over the past few months, I began to notice G's feelings. And I must say, he's a bit of a sensitive soul.

If anyone ever calls my kid a wuss or makes fun of him (or worse, calls him a girl, because crying =/= girl) for crying about something, I will punch them in the face. Seriously. But that idea isn't even what I mean.

You look at that little face, and you just know there's a whole lot going on in there. He can give that poker face like it ain't nobody's business.

And of course, like any toddler, he's fantastic at the look-how-pitiful-I-am-because-you-can't-pick-me-up-right-this-second face.

I actually feel kind of bad for snapping that picture. But I was replacing the card in my camera, so I had it in my hands anyway, and he was being so absolutely ridiculous that I decided to save the whiny face image for when he's older.

Oh, my grandbaby is giving you a hard time? Well, take a look here, G. See what you put us through when you were tiny? That toddler phase is totally normal.


The evaluator from the state, he took right to her. He tried his hardest to build a tall tower of tiny blocks to show off his skills. When he accidentally knocked them over on the seventh block, he jerked his eyes to look at her reaction. "Uh-oh!" she said, meaning it in a nice way. But his little face just crumpled up and his lower lip trembled. He wanted her approval so badly, and I really think he got upset that he'd failed her. He didn't cry, but he did later when she had to quickly take some raisins away from him. I saw it coming, that he'd try to eat them instead of put them in the little container like she wanted. And his crying wasn't a pissed off because you took something away cry. It was much more of a you hurt my feelings cry.

A few days ago, another toddler pushed G down at the playground. The other toddler couldn't have been more than a few months older than G. Definitely under two. G was a little taller than him, but he seems to have a bit more skills. The kid took two steps toward G, lifted both arms, and shoved G right in the chest. G fell backward but didn't hit his head. I was too stunned to do anything but pick my kid off the floor and comfort him. If I'd had more of my wits about me, I would have said something. The toddler's parent was right there and never said a word.

Grayson was just stunned. You could see the shock all over his face. He looked at the toddler with a clear question on his face - why would you do that to me? Then that lower lip came out. It doesn't very often, and it's almost always tied to G's feelings. I can't ever get a shot of the pouting lip because I'm always much more focused on the comforting. If the lip is out, G needs it. You could literally see him pull himself together. He cried for a few seconds, a heart-breaking wail, and then he straightened himself up, brushed me off, and went on his way.

For the rest of the time on the playground, whenever the kid came close, G would stop and watch him. He always wanted to know where the other toddler was. The trust was broken.

I'm not sure if this is even justified, but I hate that even more than when my kid gets physically hurt. A bump on the forehead because he fell into the coffee table is one thing. Those mend. A few seconds later, he's forgotten about it. But he remembers how he felt about something. The hubs says the next day, when G went to another park, he was watching the other kids more closely.

G rarely pays attention to other kids unless they physically get in his way. Then he might point to where he wants to go. He did that when I was watching him at the same playground where he was pushed down. A girl was blocking some stairs. He stood, he paced, he pointed and grunted at her. She just stared at him. I didn't press the issue since there were other stairs to explore, and he eventually gave up and left. That's G for you. He won't push you out of his way. He'll try to squeeze past you, in more of a oh hey, can I get over there? way.

Mom told me that later I might have to deal with G getting stepped on by other kids. You know, the "stand up for yourself, kiddo!" conversation. And I say, I'd rather have that conversation than the "stop punching other kids, kiddo!" one. I mean, really.

Besides, G has plenty of opinions of what he wants and doesn't want in life. He has a pretty clear idea of those and lets you know about them when he chooses to. But with other people, at least for now, politeness seems to come first.

And I admit it, that thought just makes me all puffed up with pride.

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