I thought some other posts I'd written were pretty difficult, but for some reason, I'm really struggling with this one, having started it 4 times now. And I think that's because I'm trying really hard not to start on the defensive.
Which is, of course, nearly impossible for me.
Noah had his Speech Referral appointment today. He was brilliant, playing with the toys, feeding air tea to the bear, getting wound up when he couldn't balance the tea pot on Lofty, and driving a little toy bus over Speech Therapist's printer. He made his usual noises, said Mummy and Daddy clear as day, gave toys to Isaac to play with, and signed when he'd had enough and wanted to go home to eat. She was pleased to see him signing, and was very impressed by the number of signs he knew.
Ok, even as I'm typing I need to get one thing straight with everyone, because I just need to get it off my chest (mainly because I don't want to shout at those who are just trying to support me). I am not worried about him speaking. I know he will speak. I don't doubt at all that he will speak. I know he will not stay "unable to speak forever". I don't doubt my boy at all, in that sense. In fact, I'm incredibly confident he will speak.
You should also know, I'm not just saying this to fob you off, to shake you off my back. I'm saying it because I believe it more than any of you could ever know. So many people tell me not to worry, he will speak. I'm not worried. I know he will speak.
So what am I worried about? I'm worried, like any other mom who cares, about what it's doing to him until he DOES learn to speak. About what it's doing to US. He is so frustrated. If he doesn't know the sign, he points and points, repeating the same noise over and over again, usually until we're both yelling, shouting and/or in tears. This is a regular occurrence. And that's what worries me.
And I'm pushing this whole issue, because my boy cannot carry on like that. Life in this house cannot carry on like that.
So what happened today? Well I'm not entirely sure. I've come away with the most mixed bag of emotions ever. In short, she believes there is something not right with him. And she suspects one of three things (which I can't entirely remember because OMG how much stuff to take on board).
1) It's a hearing issue, though she highly doubts it.
2) It's a physical development issue (potentially related to his funny eating), which she thinks is most likely.
3) It's a form of Speech Dyspraxia, which if this is the case, will come to light more as he gets older, and she thinks this may be possible.
I feel strangely sad after this appointment. Everyone keeps saying "this progress is good!" which I understand. Everyone says "look! You're getting help now!" which I understand.
I really, really do.
But it's such a horrible position to be in, where you want to hear that your kid is ok but you want someone to believe you when you think something is wrong. And then when someone tells you something IS wrong, you really just wanted to hear "actually he's ok". And knowing that if someone had said "Actually, he's ok", you would REALLY want to have it confirmed that something is wrong.
I know that made no sense.
But I realised today that because of these emotions I'm actually in a no-win situation. Even though...well...we've won.
This is still making no sense.
At the end of the day, though it feels horrible to say this, I'm glad ST said there's something wrong (or in her words, "something not quite right") with his speech development, mainly because I feel justified in pushing as much as I did. Ok I'll say it even though I don't want to, "I told you so". But I didn't want to be right.
So at this point what happens next? Well he has more referrals for other appointments. He will have hearing tests, he has a food specialist appointment (he often gags while he eats) and will have another speech appointment shortly after those appointments. Which will probably be in about 6 months. She believes until those appointments, we need to carry on working just that little bit harder in encouraging him to speak, as we already are, and as I had already long since confirmed in my own mind, he will speak eventually, it will just take a little longer to get there.
The latter I was already prepared for; so many people saying it to me already, as I expect many more will do. I understand. I really do. But sometimes it gets frustrating, I guess, when it feels like people don't really believe me, and suspecting I'm fretting like crazy under the surface. The only thing I'm fretting about like crazy is whether the frustration will consume us all, and how much worse it will get before he starts to give himself a break of some sort.
I'm glad he's getting help now, even if it is a long haul. I can deal with that, because I already know what the outcome will be. I'm not glad that there's a problem. I didn't want my kid "labelled" or anything like that. I'm just glad that I'm finally getting the help and support we all need, which will hopefully make this journey a little easier on us all.
Which I think, at the end of the day, was all I wanted.