So Elijah isn't technically 15 months old until Sunday but his checkup was today. And like each checkup before I knew they were going to ask questions assuming that my answer would be "yes", naturally, because all normal children with decent mothers answer "yes"... to which I have to answer "no".
"Is he walking?"
"Well, he takes one or two unassisted steps and walks around a lot with the assistance of his walker toy..."
"Does he have at least five words?"
"Um... no, he only really says 'mama' like he knows what it means..."
"He doesn't use a pacifier anymore, right?"
"Well... he uses one to sleep..." (And that's not entirely true because we let him use it other times when he's having a really rough time like when he goes to the nursery at church.)
"You read to him daily?"
"Errrr.... for the most part...."
"Can he point to his body parts?"
"Um... sort of... sometimes..."
My concerns about his lack of language development are apparently not totally unfounded. The doctor said he should have at least five words by now, and he doesn't. It made me feel both vindicated--because I kept saying it wasn't normal for him not to say any words yet and people kept telling me I was worrying for nothing--and ashamed--because if he isn't talking and there's nothing wrong with him developmentally then I am apparently not doing what I need to do in order to teach him how to talk. It makes me wonder if he has a hearing issue, but he seems to hear just fine. Of course, I don't really know how to test for that so how would I know? Or maybe he has a speech impediment. But when he babbles he makes all sorts of vowel and consonant sounds including double consonants (i.e. "sh", "th", "sr"). It's more likely that I simply let him watch too much TV and am being a bad parent.
His doctor told me to call this developmental testing place called First Steps (http://dese.mo.gov/divspeced/FirstSteps/) and have them come out and do an assessment. She said it was really just a precautionary measure so that if there is a problem we can catch it early and she thinks he's probably just going to have an explosion of words over the next three months. I know she was trying to reassure me and make me feel better, but it's my job to take care of him. That is my sole and only purpose in life right now and apparently I'm failing at it.
After that he got four lovely shots. And this time he cried before she even gave him the shots because we were holding him down (he doesn't like to stay in a lying down position), so it got way worse once he got the shots. Two in each leg. I started to cry too but kept it enough under control that I don't think the nurse noticed. And then no matter how long I held him, he wouldn't get comforted. He just kept crying. So I had to wheel him out to the checkout window crying and then out to the car crying. I sat with him in the car for a few minutes trying to play and cuddle and distract him so he'd stop crying. But then of course when I put him in the carseat, the tears returned. And so, desperate to calm him so that I could drive us home, I pulled out the pacifier--which of course he's no longer supposed to have according to his doctor.
Most of the drive back I cried. I don't feel well right now and I'm exhausted and we aren't exactly doing well financially and now my baby isn't developing right. I feel guilty already about our financial problems because I don't work outside the home. And now the job I am supposed to be doing--caring for our son--I am doing poorly because he's miserable today and not developing correctly. I was just crying and praying "Lord, please help me to trust you in this. I know I have no control and that your hand is upon all of this. Please help me trust you to care for Elijah. It doesn't matter if he never speaks. It only matters if he loves Jesus. Please help me to believe that and give this all to you. Really, really give it to you and not take it back."
I was planning to go to walmart after the appointment but obviously that wasn't going to happen so we went home and as soon as we were out of the car and the pacifier was gone, Elijah started crying again. I wanted to turn on the TV to distract him but decided I had been a terrible enough parent for one lifetime and instead picked him up and took him outside. That calmed him down but every time I tried to come back inside, he'd start crying again. But it was getting to be lunch time and not only did I need to make his lunch but I was starving as well. So I had to leave him sitting on the floor crying while I made lunch since nothing I was doing was getting him to stop crying anyway and I was about to lose it and go upstairs and scream into a pillow.
He sort of calmed down while eating lunch but of course he whines for my food because for some reason my food is more interesting than his. And I really don't mind sharing I just don't want to reward the whining. But since he has no words, what the hell am I supposed to do? I can't demand that he ask for a "bite" because he can't say "bite".
So now he's supposed to be napping but I've already heard fussing/crying start up twice so we'll see how well this nap goes. And of course, if he won't nap and I can't get him to calm down any other way I'm going to have to resort to sitting on the couch with a Veggie Tales movie on so I don't totally lose it and so he doesn't end up hyperventilating.
Guess who will NOT be nominated for mother of the year?