Wednesday, October 26, 2011

my boy

Rhys is a *bit* delayed.  Just a little. Okay, maybe a lot, I don't know. He's been seen by Michele, from Infant Development Program (which actually changed their name this year, but I can't remember what to), since he was a few months old due to his premature birth. (She also came and saw the older two boys when they were little, so she's been in our family for almost 8 years! That's neat to think of!)  According to her Assessment quiz, or whatever it was, Rhys is placed anywhere from 30-36 months of age.  He is actually 40 months old, if I can count properly!  This result doesn't surprise me (and this was just her quick assessment after his testing, and not the whole explained result. I'll get that this week when she comes.) To me, he looks and acts like a 2 1/2 year old, not a child who turned 3 in the summer. He seems smaller, younger...more babyish than child-like. But maybe that's why I love him so much. His baby-ness is endearing to me! He's cute and sweet and so innocent and cuddly. I don't want him to outgrow this yet!  Okay, sometimes I do! But I love his personality, and if having him lose it because he ages, I'd rather he stay little!

We're working on his speech right now, as that is where he is the furthest behind. This is like old hat to me, though, and I'm not worried. We went through this with Kai, and started the process with Bryn, and now here we are with Rhys...what is up with my boys??? :)  I vividly remember the whole long journey with Kai; the painful, stressful, disheartening journey. I don't remember anything with Byrn; how long he was delayed for, what his actual struggle was, none of it! I just remember feeling as though he'd "get it" in time. And, sure enough, when we were placed on the waiting list for speech therapy, by the time we were called, he had caught up!

I still do feel that Rhys will "get it" soon too, and he is, but we have been seen at Surrey Early Speech and Language, where Kai was seen for two years. That was a mixed feeling for me. For one, I wasn't too sure I wanted him to be seen by the ST we were assigned since I remembered her from three years earlier as being a bit stand-off-ish and not warm. Secondly, I didn't really think we needed therapy. I was sure that Rhys would take off on his own soon! I went in thinking it wouldn't be worth my time, to be honest.  (plus, I had to bring in all of the other kids and that's stressful for me. I don't like taking them all with me when we need to see any type of professional) Yes, he was delayed just like Kai was, but he was also so different than him too. Rhys was actually interested in speaking, he just didn't know how or wasn't given the time he needed or...or something. He was delayed but willing to learn. Whereas Kai was not and was such a struggle to get to participate and respond in anything other than grunts; he was so difficult! So I went to our initial appointment with the thoughts that we wouldn't need to do this, that things would work out, that whatever it was that was holding Rhys back would be solved.

How surprised I was to find that I was annoyed with the ST for brushing us off! Well, maybe she didn't really brush us off, but she didn't give any indication that she thought he was needing immediate attention. Instead, she wanted me to attend this parent workshop and then call her for a follow-up assessment in December! She wasn't doing her job and wanted me to do it instead! I was so frustrated with her! I know, how arrogant of me, eh?  I didn't think Rhys needed therapy like Kai did and when she agreed with me in unspoken terms, I was upset! It made no sense!

But, each week, I dutifully attended this parent workshop that was designed to teach parents techniques on getting their child to the next level of speech and how to avoid the things they were doing to hold them back in their development. I went because I had to, because if I didn't, it would make me look bad. I left the first night, not armed with new information or skills (it was info I'd already been told many times before....repeat, repeat, repeat, use 1 word when talking..etc) but with a realization of how my own attitude may have been holding him back!  I sat with a good 10 other couples who actually wanted to be there! In fact, one mom was wanting the help so badly that she had brought along her parents, her brother and his wife, as they all wanted to support and help her out! That blew me away! And a foster mother was there because three of her charges were delayed!  These people came because they thought this was going to help and they welcomed that and they desired to learn some skills! I came because I wanted to. How arrogant of me!

Since starting, Rhys' speech has grown big time! He is starting to use 2-word sentences now (YAY!) and his vocabulary has expanded! It's awesome! I don't think it's because of these classes, to be honest. I think he picked them up on his own. But these classes did help me out. I'm still not too sure what is causing his delayment, but I do wonder if it's because we rush too much. We think we're helping him, but we're speaking for him, supplying him with the answers, and not sitting back and letting him initiate.  We had some homework with our classes, which included setting aside 10 minutes...just 10...where we interacted with the child but were not allowed to respond or talk or fill in answers until we counted to 10 slowly! (So we'd say something, wait to see if they'd respond and then count before saying something again. 1 mississippi, 2 mississippi, 3 mississippi....) That was painfully hard! We naturally want to fill in the spaces of silence. The other one was where we had to spend half an hour NOT asking questions! That was difficult as well. How do you NOT?  It's something parents are constantly doing. What do you see there? Do you hear that? Would you like this? What is wrong? Where is the...?  But when we ask these types of questions to a speech-delayed child, it doesn't give them a chance to expand on their vocabulary. They can point, grunt or just say Yes in response to many of them!  So I've learned a few things. :)

This week, Rhys showed off not only his understanding of words but that he was starting to grow his conversation skills too! (most speech-delayed children are delayed in their vocalization but not in their understanding, which can make it difficult for parents. We know he can understand a lot yet we need to cut back our speaking to a lower level just to give them the chance to respond.)  I've been teaching him that he is a boy and I am a girl, and who our family is. He did not seem to know this last month at the testing, but now he gets it!

We were out shopping as a family on the weekend when Hunny stops at Best Buy for a new sensor bar for our wii (turns out that one of the bunnies had bit through the wires of our old one!) Abi doesn't want to go in, and Eden is sleeping, and frankly, I had no interest in going inside, so we decided to stay in the van. Now, Rhys is the only one left in a 5-point harness car seat (other than Eden, obviously)  so unfortunately, if he can be left in the vehicle, he will be, just for the inconvenience of taking him in and out of his seat. Which is what Hunny was preparing to do at the store. But Rhys starts to cry, saying "!" He wanted out too! As B and Kai are climbing out of the van, Hunny says, "I'm sorry, Rhys, I'm going with just The Boys!"  And Rhys says clearly, "Me Boy!" pointing to his chest emphatically!

Can't argue with that! He got to go too! :)

I love my boy. He is my cuddle bug still. He's sensitive. He's cute. He's witty. And he's starting to grow up. And that's exciting. And sad. But mostly exciting.


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