Friday, June 18, 2010

Getting The Shaft

I try to be a good mom. I get to stay at home with my kids, which I try not to take for granted because I know for many different reasons some people just can't do that. I spend time with them and try to get them out and do things and spend time with their friends. Owen is out of school until the end of the month so we've been hitting it hard this week. "A rolling stone gathers no moss" and we've definitely been rolling!

This morning at 9 AM we had a meeting in our home for River's evaluation with the Infant & Toddler Program. Owen was in involved with them since he was 23 months old, right around the time River was born and when he turned three, he moved to a different program through the school system. They did wonders for him and his speech delay. He had almost no words at our first meeting and now he won't shut up I hear him sitting in his room when he should be napping and he has imaginary conversations with his friends. Cutest thing ever! Yesterday I heard him say, "Sydney, where's Cooper and Jane Jane? Have you seen them Max?" I year ago that was a dream for us.
So because they've been so good to Owen, I go out of my way to believe everything they tell me. I mean I'm vigilant and I make sure my kids get what is best for them but I&T has yet to lead me astray. It's not just the program, the lady who did our evaluation is the same lady that came to our house once a week to work with Owen. So when we discussed where River was this morning I had faith that she was right. I hoped she's still qualify for services because she isn't walking yet. I want someone to work with her until she can walk across a room. That was my goal and my expectation. Even though she is only being seen for PT, the evaluation covers everything, speech, receptive and expressive language, motor skills and the whole shebang. She was approved to continue services with her PT but she's also now been approved for services because she is a bit behind in her speech. This troubles me. Both my kids have the same issue. Although I worry about River less because she's more advanced in speech than Owen was at her age but she's still behind.
I sat and listened to everything Kristen had to say and it all sounded familiar. She asked me questions about what I thought River understood and what she was able to express. "Can she make animal noises?" NO. Can she go into another room and get something if you ask her to?" NO. "Can she use a spoon?" NO. "Can she point to things in a picture if you ask her to?" NO. While these things are upsetting I know they are fixable. Part of the problem is me. Before today I didn't have any concerns about River's speech. Owen was much more far behind than she is so she seems right where she should be. I had no idea that she had a delay until Kristen broke it down.
This is the problem. River is getting the second kid shaft and I didn't even realize it. I take her to the zoo and I take her to playgroups but I don't think I've ever sat down with her and said, "This is a pig. A pig says oink oink." How could I have not done that? I didn't even realize I was doing it, or not doing it in this case. One problem that I've always known was an issue is that I don't narrate my day. I don't say "OK, we're changing your diaper now. We're wiping your butt. It's time to eat lunch. These are strawberries." I just don't do that. That kind of idle chatter just isn't in my nature. I could go all day and not say a word and that would be normal for me. Not healthy, but normal. I knew it was an issue with Owen and it's clearly a issue with River. I've gotten much better at it but I'm still not good enough for someone with two kids.
So, we've got a lot of work ahead of us. I'm pulling out the animal sounds flash cards and the great books Owen's friends got him when he was trying to learn to say the words. We have a lot of work ahead of us but I am going to bust my ass to teach River about the noises animals make. Her capacity to learn is broad and it makes me wonder what she'd know now if she had a better teacher but admitting I'm part of the problem helps me know what I'm doing wrong so I can work on fixing it. It isn't like I ignore her, I just don't challenge her which I think allows her to stay in the comfortable area of what she already knows. She attempts to repeat everything I tell her so clearly she's ready. We're going to be rolling stones from now on, gather no moss. This summer is gonna be hella busy!

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