Oll-E > Wall-E

Both are pretty cute and they even sound the same

I’ve blogged about all the normal baby and toddler firsts… I’ve talked about cleaning nuclear-like diaper messes and first solid foods… I’ve written about bubble wrapping and baby gating the house for their first steps. Now don’t get me wrong those are all hugely significant moments in time, but they all pale in comparison to hearing you child speak their first words. I’ve been in educational for nearly 20 years… I’ve taught children to read, to multiply triple digit numbers and I’ve taught children how to explain their thinking, but teaching a child to speak… that’s just magical.

Parenting is just a series of events that makes you feel equally proud and sad… watching your child become more independent each and everyday makes your heart both swell with pride for the amazing little being you are raising and also makes your heart long for the days when your baby needed you for everything. Like Elton John said, “it’s the Circle of Life” (I’m not sure if that analogy works here, but it sounds good so if you don’t mind, please just roll with it).

Listen, becoming mobile matters, it’s a huge step (pardon the pun) in the growth and development of a child. Learning to talk… to have a reciprocal conversation… is like the when the caveman first discovered fire, or first time you realized you didn’t have to actually flip open a cell phone to use it. It’s a game changer

Oliver has been saying words for a bit now… some much more clearly than others. But to hear him say his own name… I don’t know why… it was really cool. It was special. I know he has asked for juice when he’s wanted it and I’ve heard him yell, “dog” when Buster and Max were being naughty, but this… saying his name… I feel like it transforms him from a parakeet to a real person. I’m not sure why (especially since he was literally repeating his name), but just stay with me here… it’s my blog so I can write whatever I want.

Talking is transformative, getting to a point where you’re child knows his name, can say his own name and can string a word or two together changes an entire parent-child relationship I’m just hoping we are getting to the point where we can get a response from Oliver when ask him, “why are you screaming and what was the purpose of throwing yourself on the ground just now?”

But for now… I’ll take the slow and steady progress, even if he sounds like that robot WALL-E when he talks!

Wanted: Miracle Worker

For those of you who read regularly, or at least have some sort of personal connection to Jackson, then you know that we have been seeking/receiving services for him the past year or so (mostly for his speech delay/issues, which as an aside have improved immensely over the past year).

It’s been a while since I’ve gotten into detail about Jackson and his “talking,” but tomorrow is a huge step in his process of meeting age appropriate developmental milestones as far as communication. Tomorrow we meet with our towns speech and language program for a battery of assessments that will help us identify what might be a road block in his communication development and also narrow down the specific areas of weakness that need to be addressed.  

I’ve been an educator for close to 18 years both as a teacher and now as a principal. I’ve been part of more evaluations, progress monitoring check-ins and initial identification meetings than most people will in their life time. But this time I’m not doing the evaluations of hearing the results as a leader of an educational system… I’m the helpless parent who has to watch his son be assessed by people who know nothing about him other than his name. I have to sit back and let someone else’s educational and developmental knowledge do the diagnosis and listen to someone else tell me what is best for my child. 

I’m not OK with that, yes I know I have the ability and expertise to collaborate when determining the direction for his individualized education plan. But in all reality I can’t be there in this situation for him… I can’t help him tomorrow when he is being tested by someone he doesn’t know… and I definitely can’t control what the results say.  

I’m nervous and anxious and I don’t really know if I’m going to be ok. I’m not sure if this whole thing is ok. I’ve seen a lot of children with needs, both minor and significant needs receive the support they need through an amazing educator. I’ve seen public school teachers work miracles. I just hope one of those miracle workers comes across my son and works wonders for him too. 

My Son is a Parseltongue

young_tom_riddle_4_by_vjameslily-d32owmr

So I have been so hesitant to write anything about what’s been bothering me lately.  Like really bothering me.  I know I pretty much write about anything and everything on here because that’s what this blog is about… The real stuff… The good, the bad and the ugly… Clint Eastwood style.   But I also want to make sure that later in life Jax doesn’t have a complex… (Or at least too much of a complex).

But I’m starting to worry.  So this blog entry is less about me telling a story and more about me being able to get something off my chest.  Something that is worrying me.

I’m pretty sure everyone knows I’m an educator.  I’ve been a teacher and administrator for 15 years now.  Maybe I have some sort of hypochondria or a super heightened sense of attention to detail when it comes to child development, but I feel like I’m starting to stress out.

So he’s almost 17 months old… He’s done a lot over the past year and a half.  He’s hitting milestones left and right… But he’s still not taking. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m the first to defend the… “Everyone develops at their own pace” philosophy.  But when it’s my own kid it’s stressful. Don’t forget… This is the type of literature I read on a daily basis:

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Try reading that as a parent and not losing your mind.  Try reading and article that says by 15 months your child should be able to order Lo Mein in Chinese and be able to use chopsticks to eat it. I’m struggling to balance my professional career as someone who diagnosis students’ reading problems and has to decide if a students behavior issues are developmental, environmental or learned… I’m struggling to balance that with my professional career as a dad who worries about everything.

I mean, we do have the basic “mama” and “dada”… and for whatever weird reason there’s also “nene” (bottle).  But other than that he has the language skills of Animal from the Muppet Babies.

We talk to him (I mean… I could talk for hours… its my favorite pasttime).  Grammy, literally gives him literacy and vocabulary lessons all day… half of his toys talk to him… and we read to him every night.  And all we get in return is something that sounds like Parseltongue.  I mean, maybe I’m looking into this to deeply… but he sure fits the bill of a Parselmouth

“Parseltongue is, when spoken, a hissing sound, similar to that of a snake; as such, normal people cannot understand it (one known exception being Dumbledore). Apart from merely communicating with serpentine lifeforms, Parselmouths also seem able to influence the will of serpents to a certain extent. Aside from serpent-based creatures, Parselmouths can communicate with each other with the language, as Harry understood Tom Riddle’s commands to the Basilisk and the House of Gauntcommunicate with each other almost exclusively in Parseltongue. While inherited, Parseltongue usually requires the speaker to face a snake-based creature or object shaped like a snake (e.g. a carving); more proficient speakers may be able to speak it at will.” -HarryPotter Wiki

So maybe I should be less worried about the fact that he isn’t really talking or more worried that my son may be a Dark Wizard?