Mia’s speech therapy journey is about to begin, before it does I am going to document how I’m feeling and how we got here.
Needing Speech Therapy
I’ve been worried about Mia’s speech since she was around 15 months. She just wasn’t at the same level as her peer group. I spoke to the Health Visitors at 18 months and was told that there is often a ‘speech explosion’ between 18 months and 2. This ‘explosion’ certainly happened for many of her cohort, but unfortunately not us. Most days Mia says very little. She may say “No” and “Dada” features fairly regularly. She can also say “Mama” and there are other words I have heard her say (hello, dog, wow) but these have been one-offs.
At the two year review, we discussed her lack of vocabulary and it was agreed that she was behind. The next day I received a phone call from an ‘early years care practitioner’ and we arranged an appointment at home. This was basically asking me the same questions as the two year review (but I understand that). We live in Bath & North East Somerset and the EYCP is not allowed to refer to full speech therapy (I think this is designed to try and cut the waiting list). Instead we have a 5 week short course before we can receive a referral to full speech therapy. This starts a week on Monday.
How’s Mama Feeling?
I feel excited, hopeful, apprehensive and dubious all at the same time. Whilst I would dearly love for this to be the magic key that unlocks my girl’s language, I am dubious. After 2 years of me talking, playing, reading and singing to her how is 5 weeks of playing with someone else is going to make any difference? On the other hand, I am not a speech therapist and I can’t say that my sole aim in playing with her has been to elicit speech. Perhaps what they will do will encourage her, maybe she will try some new sounds, who knows?
The problem is I am very wary of pinning all my hopes on this and then being heartbroken. For me it is better to believe that nothing will change. Of course I will do whatever they ask of me as ‘homework’ and try to replicate the session with her on my own. I would be delighted to be surprised if anything does change. I am the world’s most impatient person, so this has been a huge struggle for me personally.
Mama says a lady is going to come to our house and play with me. That’s all very well but I hope she brings her own toys. My toys are mine and I don’t want them messed up. I display them all over the floor in my own special way. If she plays good games then that’s OK by me. I’m not sure why she’s coming to play with me, something to do with talking no doubt. I’ll see if she’s got any good stuff and I’ll give it a go.
Now we are two
As Mia heads towards two, I thought it would be nice to reflect on what Motherhood has taught me so far. How I have changed and grown as a person.
Have More Confidence in Yourself
Becoming a mother has taught me to have more confidence in my ability to do…well basically anything! Teaching yourself to care for a small human and then realising you’re succeeding is a huge confidence booster. Don’t doubt yourself in the beginning – it’s your child and you know what’s best.
Haters gon’ Hate
There will always be someone ready, willing and able to judge your parenting. Sod them. They weren’t there with your baby pretty much 24/7 since they were born; comparatively, they know nothing. I’ve developed such a thick skin to this. I really don’t care if you think formula is poison, only monsters don’t wear their children or that baby-led weaning is silly. You do you, I’m not interested!
Parenting is Bittersweet
It’s always one step forwards, two steps back, especially during the first year. Parenting is the best thing you’ll ever do but it’s also the hardest. When you have to watch your kid struggle and get sick and they pick up all the annoying characteristics you didn’t want them to get. It’s so hard. Then just when they get past a certain stage you lament them not being a little baby anymore.
Try to worry less
This is a ridiculous piece of advice but I’m giving it anyway. You want your child to grow and develop at the same rate as every other child, but comparison really is the thief of joy. Sometimes they just need a little longer to figure something out, though that doesn’t help you worry any less when everyone is saying ‘are they walking yet?’
You are Enough
Life gets hectic, it’s difficult to keep all the balls in the air. Your kid doesn’t care about that, all they really need is food, shelter and love. If you can give them those things then you’re doing just fine. Also, you are not the first person to shout ‘I don’t know what you want!’ at your baby and then cry because, what kind of monstrous person yells at a baby? The answer is, we all do. Sometimes we shout at our kids when they don’t 100% deserve it because we are tired. That’s OK too.
Now I am Two
Mama says I am two now. When you are two you go to the zoo for the day and look at the animals. You also get a balloon and some cake. I like all the fishes the best, they get to live in special light up cases that look fun. This is what I have learned now I am two:
- How to drink from a cup – that was hard. Drinking seemed like a lot of hard work when I came out of Mummy’s tummy. I drank from a bottle and that was OK, I was pretty pleased I learned but then I had this cup given to me all the time. I ignored it for months but then I gave up and tried. I’m glad I did I get creamy tasting milk out of it. Water I could take or leave…
- I can eat real food – Mama keeps offering me weird stuff that looks like trees and stuff but I just ignore that. Peanut butter sandwiches are my favourite though.
- I can walk – it took a while to figure this out, it’s tricky, but it’s actually a really quick way to get about which is great. Sometimes I try to run away from Mama because I want to explore everything and I worry she won’t let me.
- I can sleep – I used to get hungry in the night for ages. That was annoying because I like sleeping. Then sometimes my teeth really hurt and it wakes me up, or I have a nightmare. But most of the time now I can sleep.
- Mama and Dada go away sometimes, but they always come back.
- I want to see everything – I used to want to stay by Mama a lot but now I want to see everything, she’s usually there anyway so if I was worried I could find her, but now I want to find everything out about the world.
- I like to do things carefully after fully working them out by watching people. Apparently this means I take a long time to do some things, but I like to do them properly.
- I can look at books and TV – It’s fun to look at books and hear the stories in them, it’s one of the best things to do. Colours and shapes and stories are interesting to me, so is pulling blocks apart and posting things through holes. Those are my hobbies.
You Can Judge
You can judge me:
- because I had an epidural
- I formula fed.
- The fact she never slept in my bed.
- We use disposables
- She has a dummy and
- watches television,
but it’s not your decision
You can judge me:
- For not letting her cry it out, or
- because she threw a tantrum in the park
- or she’s eating chocolate buttons and has
- messy hair
but I don’t care
she’s two, who are you?!
You will never know:
- she was back to back,
- and she wouldn’t latch
- she was happy in her bed
You weren’t there in my head
- She was hungry in the night,
- she tantrums when she’s tired
it’s not your concern
When will people learn?
The space between us is sacred
You cannot break us down
With your disapproving frown
Or your comment on a Facebook post.
You did not cry on her head because she wouldn’t feed from you.
You didn’t sit upright
Because it’s the only way reflux would allow her to rest
Your small mind didn’t feel the fear when a paramedic came to help her breathe.
The opinions you have didn’t sway her to sleep last night because her ever-learning brain couldn’t slow down.
Your thoughts aren’t a test
My love is a testimony
To this little girl,
I’d happily lie in traffic for her,
There’s nothing I wouldn’t do,
The only problem here is you.