Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Was Liam Switched at Birth?

This kid is not mine! I know he looks just like me with his round, blue eyes and fair skin, but he talks. No just two year old babbling, Liam communicates! Even with gestures like finger waving when his brothers have bop him over the head and long sentences about friends at school and what he wants for dinner.

Other people even understand him; I don’t have to interrupt every single word that comes out of his mouth. I have been repeating word for word what Tristan (son #1) and Dylan (son #2) have said for the last six years... now I just stand next Liam as he belts out 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9, and 10 and everyone understands him.

Tristan (son #1) has autism and Dylan (son #2) has a speech delay, so getting a kid that was meeting all the developmental milestones was highly unlikely with our gene pool. Oddly enough Liam is text book two year old (over the past seven years I have memorized all the “expert” parenting books), huh… I don’t understand how this happened.

So this is what it is like when your kid is “typical”, you play and talk about school and friends and what to make for dinner. You mean I don’t have to guess what you want for dinner or what clothes you want to wear or try to understand why you are crying. This is a strange world to me— no picture boards are needed and Liam tells me what he wants, no guessing.

Last weekend I dragged out the seven year old flash cards that I bought for Tristan (before diagnosis) because that was what “good” parents do, right?...quiz your eighteen month old about what they see on the card. Well, I have had years of failed attempts which ended ninety percent of the time with Tristan or Dylan eating the flash cards.

So, the flash card have been on the shelf with all the craft supplies (another lost cause) and I thought why not, Liam is clearly beyond eating them so why not try to expand his mind. Guess what? Liam loved them and carried them around saying what was on the card. For years I had listened to my friends discuss the development of their children and Tristan and Dylan never fit their descriptions.

It also seemed like my friends (no offense) would worry about the smallest things like whether or not to give their precious two year old Tylenol when they were teething or what kind of bathing products to use. But I guess when you are not anxious that your two or even three year old has no functioning communication those are the things to fret over.

This parenting thing is easy (I mean for the typically developing kiddos)— no speech language pathologists, occupational therapists, play therapists, special educators, and psychologists daily, tramping through my house. I say a new word and Liam repeats it and seems to understand it. Wow, this is like having a first born child again… I mean totally different from the last two. I wonder, am I qualified to raise a child with no developmental delay? Well, I guess we will find out; what a great adventure I am on.


Alicia (aka Dr. Mom) said...

Isn't it nice to have a foot in both worlds?? My eldest (now 13) has Autism, severe-profound cognitive delays, a severe seizure disorder (started at 4 months of age), is non-verbal, still in diapers, and assessed at a 10-18 month old level in all developmental domains. For 10 years, that was my life. When I remarried and had 3 more children (now ages 4,3, and 15 months) I was astounded when they developed typically. It is a whole diff. ball game. I feel bad saying this, but its like (for me at least) i finally get the 'warm fuzzies' of motherhood... i went 10 years w/o ever hearing the word "mommy" or "i love you" nor gettng much eye contact, zero conversation, or much in the way of 'affection.' now, i feel like i can get my battery recharged (is that bad to say?!?!?)

enjoy all of your beautiful children! For all they are, all they do, and all the have yet to become :)

Angela Timpone said...

Thank you Alicia for sharing your story. It is different when you get the feedback and then you realize, oh that is what everyone is talking about.

Not bad to say... hey we are human and in any ohter situation besides motherhood if an individual didn't communicate with you, what would you do?

I know it is much more complicated on an intellectual level, but on a emotional level it may not be.

People are wired to need the back and forth communication.

Thanks again for sharing and reading. Angela