An explanation

I haven’t been blogging as frequently as I’ve been accustomed to recently. Frankly, the craziness of my fall schedule has kicked me square in the rear, and I’ve been a little depressed about what has been going on.

Tad started speech therapy a couple of weeks ago. I knew this was going to be an uphill battle going in. He is a bright kid, but he is very laid-back and easy going – especially since he knows his routine and has no desire to mess with it. Not having Ane around for two mornings of the week has just been the icing on the cake for him. And to him, speech therapy is just one big play time.

To me, it’s like a showcase of what a lousy mother I have been to him. The therapists have all been very encouraging and straightforward, so it’s not like they are laying a guilt trip on me each time we go in. I’m doing it all to myself.

The basic formula that they are pushing to start with is the OWL technique: Observe, Wait, and Listen. Observe the child at play so you know what has their interest and can communicate with them about it, Wait for an opportunity to let your child speak, and then Listen carefully to all the words coming out of their mouths. I’m trying. I really am trying. But trying to communicate with Tad is like talking to a moving brick wall.

“Yes, block. Block. And bunny. Car. Car race. Hey, get back here! I’m trying to communicate and engage you, darn it!”

For me, OWLing Tad means that I would basically follow him around (or trap him in his room and follow him around in there) and get nothing else done. And don’t I have another kid around here somewhere? And dinner’s not going to make itself!

But in the back of my mind, even as I try and try and try, is the same old nagging, probably unfair question.

What did I do right with Ane that I did wrong with Tad?

Even as I type that sentence, I know how unfair it is to make that comparison. Ane and Tad are two totally different personalities. She is strong-willed and independent; he is not as strong-willed as she is and has a deep mommy-need. She is gregarious to the point of being downright obnoxious; he feels safest and most outgoing among his close family and friends, though he is friendly to others. Her first word (at 10 months) was “Hi”; his first word (at 13 months) was “No”. They are two completely different people and I have strived to treat them as such, but maybe in dealing with Ane’s dominating personality, I forgot to bring Tad more to the forefront and was content to let him keep being my undemanding baby.

I have long held that one of the biggest challenges in getting Tad to talk will be getting Ane to shut up. It’s something that even other kids have noticed. We have started taking Jay, Little Mo’s kindergarten-age brother, to church with us on Wednesday evenings (he’s a Spark in the AWANA program). The first evening, when he was in the car with us, Ane could not keep quiet. “Hey, Jay, guess what?” were the words that started every single sentence she spoke. Finally, Jay said to the Webmaster and me, “She talks a lot, doesn’t she?”

And where was Tad in all of this? Sitting there in his carseat, saying nothing. As usual.

I have no idea where therapy is going to lead us. At this point, I am uncertain if it is therapy or time that will actually get us to where we want Tad to be. All I know is, I’m out of ideas, and therapy is not hurting him, and it is forcing me to take a long, hard look at Tad’s place within this family, and on my priority list. Putting Tad into therapy has made me schedule time just for him – something I’ve never had to do before.

I’m seeing lots of things right now about myself, and I don’t like what I see.

3 Responses to “An explanation”

  1. Dozeymagz
    October 4th, 2007 07:37

    Please don’t be so hard on yourself. I’ve heard it’s a really common thing for Baby No2 not to talk so much – they don’t have to! Baby No1 tends to do all the work for them! I’ve noticed it with Dustbunny. Her speech is so much further behind Mophead was at the same age and stage. Tad will get there, he’ll take his own time, especially when he starts Nursery and begins to spend time with other’s of his age. Please please don’t blame yourself. You are doing a wonderful job. It’s hard work looking after two (or more!) little ones and with a house to run and just life in general. You’re not doing anything wrong – quite the opposite!
    – hugs –

  2. Laurie
    October 4th, 2007 08:51

    Don’t worry, friend! Aidan at 3 1/2 never shuts up, and I thought he would never talk at all! 🙂 Of course, all he talks about are DVDs, Veggie Tales, Disney, Teletubbies, They Might Be Giants…

  3. Matthew
    October 5th, 2007 06:53

    Well, you know my situation with TheMonk and we’re raising him AT THE SAME TIME as Swee’Pea. They are getting the exact same parenting but they are just different.

    Don’t beat yourself up. I think scheduling time with Ane and with Tad is important regardless – it’s been something we’ve been struggling with here as we hardly get any one-on-one time with the twins.

    You are a wonderful parent and Tad will be just fine – on his own schedule, not yours. Keep working with him and, I promise you, at some point you will see an explosion of words and you’ll long for the times when he was quiet.

    Hang in there!