I am struggling today.
Surely every mother has said this at least once.
My youngest son is 2 years old. He was the happiest baby in the universe. He was so chill and calm and never minded that his sister was up in his face all of the time. He was flexible. A go with the flow kiddo.
Rhett went to an in-home daycare starting at 7 weeks old. He quickly bonded with our sitter, which we knew he would. As he was growing, he was hitting milestones when he was supposed to. He was rolling over, scooting, sitting up, etc. all when the doctor said he should be.
I had a good friend who sent her friend to the same in-home daycare that Rhett went to. She has a degree in Special Education. From time to time, when she picked up her son, she would play with Rhett. She noticed he wasn’t talking or babbling much (at this point he was close to being 12 months old). I agreed. My other two children were basically speaking when they came out. (Our daughter was talking before she was walking.) So this was something that I had noticed with Rhett.
I really tried not to panic. I work in childcare and children develop at different rates all of the time. My friend suggested just for peace of mind contacting Early Intervention and setting up a screening. The day Rhett turned one I called them. They set up a visit and he was evaluated in December 2019. He qualified for speech therapy.
At this point, I felt that I had failed him. I must not have talked to him enough. I must have been communicating more with my other two children who could communicate back to me. I beat myself up for a long time. Then I thought he isn’t around any kids his age, which was also my fault. Should I have started him at a child care center from the beginning? These negative thoughts passed…or I made them pass. I just kept telling myself I’ll do anything to help him. So, we started speech therapy.
While he was in speech, I started to notice that there were several developmental things that he was not doing as a one-year-old. He wasn’t playing peek-a-boo, he wasn’t shaking his head no, waving, he wasn’t handing us a book when he wanted us to read it to him. He struggled with play skills. He bounced from place to place and toy to toy within a matter of seconds. Originally, Rhett did not qualify for developmental therapy. I decided to have our service coordinator set up another screening. This time he qualified. Rhett started developmental therapy shortly after. My friend is his therapist.
Covid hit right after this. For a while, there was no therapy. The state was still trying to figure out how to make it work. They eventually settled for teletherapy. Teletherapy is hard. My one-year-old didn’t want to sit still or participate in any of it. I was chasing him around everywhere. The process was so exhausting. During one of my sessions with our speech therapist, she suggested having Rhett evaluated for occupational therapy. He was known to walk backwards into the couch. It seemed he was seeking deep pressure. He also didn’t have the best posture and his body when you held him was kind of like a wet noodle. Long story short he was evaluated for both occupational therapy and physical therapy. He qualified for them both.
We now have a team of therapists. 4 therapists to be exact. I never saw this coming. Of course, I still don’t know what the future looks like. Somedays are completely better than others. Somedays he has awesome therapy sessions and I come out feeling great because I can tell he’s learning new skills. Other days I get so pissed at myself because I’m not seeing progress. I tell myself over and over that I should be working harder with him. That I’m not doing enough to make his life successful.
Today, I am struggling.
Rhett had two great therapy sessions today. He has the best teacher there is. She attends every single therapy session with us. I was feeling super proud of him. She was feeling super proud of him. It was a good day.
A little later I went into his classroom for a short visit. All of the toddlers in the classroom were playing find the hidden cars. Rhett was not. He was wandering the classroom. He didn’t understand what they were doing. This is a skill a one-year-old should have. Rhett is two.
I came back to my desk with tears in my eyes. We don’t have a diagnosis yet. I’m not looking for a diagnosis. My son does not need to be labeled. I know it will not change Rhett. I will still love him exactly the same as I do now. He’s the same little boy who squeezed tight onto my finger the minute I was able to hold him. He’s my baby. He always will be.
I have no idea what his future holds. The dreams I once had for him; well, they may not be obtainable. But then again, his life isn’t about me. It’s about him. The dreams I created in my head aren’t his dreams. As a parent, I have made his delays about me.
Today I am struggling. I’m feeling sorry for myself. Feeling like I did something wrong. Feeling like I did this to Rhett. I am certainly beating myself up.
Tomorrow is a new day and I know tomorrow will be better. Tomorrow will be different. Tomorrow will be great.