In August, sometime after the mastectomy (but before my reconstruction)…I called about Pax. If you recall, at his two-year appointment (last November) his pediatrician had been worried about his speech delay, and wanted me to get hime tested.
I waited. Andwaitedandwaited. I was so sure that his speech was just around the corner…Pax understood everything so well, and could communicate in a variety of clever ways. While he wouldn’t use words, he had been mimicking his brother’s disappointed “awwwww!” sound for over a year. And Pax is funny. Like, real attempts at humor. For example, I’m changing his diaper one day and all of a sudden, he snaps his legs shut.
“Peepee” he says. “Dawn.”
“Your peepee…is…gone, Pax?” I’m trying to understand what he’s saying.
“Hide” says Pax. “Dawn? Dawn?” And now he’s holding out his hands, palms up, looking around frantically.
“Ah,” I say, comprehension dawning. “It’s hiding.”
“Your peepee is hiding in the water?” I sigh. Diaper change games are not my favorite, and knowing Pax, we could be here a while. He’s learned from his brother that peepee anything is funny. I’m eying the fresh diaper, wondering if I can wrestle it on him somehow. Suddenly, he kicks his legs back open in a big V: “DA DAAAA!!”
The peepee is back in business. I crack up. This exchange repeats several more times before I can get the diaper back on.
But this exchange is a pretty good example of how Pax talked: One word sentences.
Around the dinner table we’d talk about our day, and Pax’s contribution was often all “Ball! Raines! Fun!” and we’d know something fun happened with Raines and a ball. But there were no linking words, nothing beyond a single syllable, and I’m not sure I could even consider this set of words to be the doctor’s “linking words together” requirement. There was no sentence structure at all. And since he’s almost three…I called. Haverford child services and I made a date to do an evaluation a few days after my reconstructive surgery. Two weeks. That’s all it was. Two weeks.
In that two week timespan of course, Pax’s language exploded. He went from “Ball! Fun!” to talking incessantly about “piderman”. Apparently “piderman FIGHT!” and “piderman tchoot veb” but “piderman NOT fwyy only soup-man fwyy” etc. etc. etc.
He went through his whole Spiderman routine with the child development folks, including the shooting of webs, a few mad dashes to the kitchen and back and some serious jumping/breakdancing moves. “Yeeeaaaah…..” the main evaluator said, eyeing Pax, who was now down on the floor engaging her stuffed bear in a pretend conversation with his Piderman, “he’s not even close to qualifying for services”.
Well. Yay. They ended up doing the full test just for fun, and it turns out that he’s ahead of his age group in pretend play and motor skills. Color me NOT surprised. But it was gratifying nonetheless.
The morning after his evaluation we’re having breakfast, and I ask P if he’d like more toast. “Yup” he replies. Then he thinks about it. “Actually…fine” he says, waving his hand at me dismissively.
Fine? Actually? Well, that pretty much sums it up.