Since Avery was little, she's always been on the late to very late end of milestones. Pinching her food, crawling, walking- you name it. The girl has a mind of her own and certainly doesn't rush into things. She also has a stubborn streak in her....no idea where she got that from! :) Perhaps it was my own mom telling me that I was the same way with being on the later end of timelines, but I always felt throughout the late milestones that it was fine and she'd get there when she was ready (as difficult as it was not to compare her to other kids her age). From day one, my motherhood mantra has always been that a healthy and happy baby = success.
Fast forward to Avery at nearly 21 months, and we're living that mantra day in and day out. Aves is a healthy and happy girl who loves to take in the world around her. Like any toddler she has her moments that make you cringe (especially when they are in public!), but we all know that this is part of growing up. As we reach the age where Avery is supposed to be developing her speech at a faster and faster rate and identifying everyday objects around her, something has felt a bit off. Receptively, girl's got it down and she loves following directions that you give her- especially when it comes to giving our dog Sloan a hug and a kiss. However, there are parts of her expressive language that have left us wondering. Wondering if this is another stage of Aves being a late bloomer or wondering if perhaps we need to dig a bit deeper on this one.
As a teacher, I'm more than accustomed to teaching children of all backgrounds. Students that come from all over the world, students that come from modern families, students that have special needs, students that are so bright beyond their years- and I love them all the same. I think having this maternal instinct with all of the students that I've taught over the years has reinforced for me that even if Avery does require services or additional help, there's nothing "wrong" with her. That being said, that word- "wrong"- has come up time and time again when I've mentioned my observation about Avery to other people and it's made me pause and reflect. It's something that I feel like I want to be able to bring up in conversation and not necessarily hide, but it's also been an eye-opening experience sharing this concern with others. I know in my heart that there is nothing wrong with a child (or adult, for that matter) that needs help of any kind. Might they need some additional services to get them where they need to be, though? Absolutely. The thing is, I know that people who have said, "Oh, I'm sure there's nothing wrong with her!" have meant so, so well by that comment. And they're right- there is nothing wrong with Avery. There is something that has been pulling on my mama heartstrings that I want to look into further, though. There is something that we can do proactively as her parents to let her know that we're always her number one advocates and want to do whatever we can to be there for her.
And so- we made the call. The testing hasn't taken place yet and I don't think that this is the space for me to share where we go from here either way. It is a space, though, to share that as a parent you're always the most in tune with your child(ren) and you're always their front-line of love and guidance for them. As a parent, don't ever feel like something is wrong with your little one when you're noticing something that seems different (something that I've been reminding myself a lot these days).
Healthy and Happy = Success.
Healthy and Happy = Success.
Sidenote: I actually caught myself doing a similar thing the other day when a friend was sharing that she was worried about something medically and I made a comment along the lines of, "Oh, I'm sure it's nothing!". I don't think that's what she wanted or needed to hear, though. Instead, I think a more comforting response would have been that I hope that it turns out to be nothing, but if it is something, I'm here for her in whatever way she needs me. It's easy for us to think that we're consoling people by hoping that there's nothing abnormal happening in their lives when, in fact, sometimes we just need to hear that even if there is something unusual that pops up, we have friends in our corner waiting to be there for us.
"Chopsticks, you say!?"