Henry turned 18 months old on Sunday, and he talks more than some teenagers I know. He’s always asking for MO MALK to go with his GAM CACKA, then perhaps later we can GO OW SIGH. He politely says “TAN OO” when I hand him a bowl of Goldfish and the whole talking thing fills me with complex emotions: Joy. Wonder. And, from somewhere deep in my soul, abject bitterness.
Sebastian was not even 2 years old when we started interventions in earnest for his developmental delays. In his short life I have spent three summers and an entire year shuttling him to speech therapists and occupational therapists and sensory gyms and psychologists and developmental pediatricians and others I have forgotten.
When he was 18 months old, he didn’t say a single word. A year later, at 2 and a half, after countless hours of help from all the different corners of Dallas, he said one: Hi.
Of course, all that chipping away did eventually pay off in a big way. These days, although things with our young friend are still hard (yes, very hard), at least he has no problems with talking anymore. At 5, he has the vocabulary of a liberal arts graduate student, and experiences ZERO hesitancy expressing whatever ideas pop into his little blonde head.
We’re lucky. I know we are.
But still, when just-a-baby Henry points to his face and casually shouts, “NOSE. MOUF. TEEF,” I grin at him, because he is so proud of his teeth and he only has seven, ha ha I totally scoreboard him with my 32. But I also feel my jaw set with stress as I can’t help but remember only a short time ago, I held a very similarly featured toddler who could only stare blankly when I pointed at his nose, his mouth, his teeth.