What They Say

I took the day off work today so that we could meet with Them. I’m sitting here now, waiting for Them to come.

They. Them. The Experts. The people who will tell me if I’ve been a good mother. If my instincts are all out of whack. If my daughter is OK. If she’s not. If she can be “fixed”. If I’m crazy.

My daughter is going to be evaluated by two early childhood speech pathologists this morning. I made the call to request the evaluation, and almost everyone I know disagrees with me.

“You’re worrying too much,” is what they say.

“You’re pushing your child. You want her to speak for purely selfish reasons. You don’t have the emotional maturity to just be patient. You obviously don’t know anything about this parenting stuff and OMG you’ve actually done this before?!?!” is what I hear.

But I also hear my instincts. And they’re loud and pushy and nagging and hard to ignore.

My daughter will be two next month. She says mama and dada and ball and a few other words. She doesn’t have a word to describe her brother. Not a word, not a name, not anything that’s jibberish but at least consistent jibberish that would indicate that this is a significant person in her life.

She’s not using “two word combos” or “short command sentences” or any of the things that she should “at least be doing” at this age… according to the pages and pages of research I’ve poured over.

And I’ve been looking for a while. Because even at a year, something felt off to me. I couldn’t put my finger on it… but I couldn’t shake the fear either. The fear that something was just not right. It’s more than just “disappointment” when your child misses a “benchmark” for the first time. It’s so much more than not having the child who can speak fluent Spanish, English and French at 18 months.

It’s this ginormous, looming, unknown black cloud that carries with it a million potential unexpected endings.

My husband thinks I’m crazy. The other mothers I know think I’m impatient. My mother says my brothers did the same thing and “honey, she’ll be fine.” My mother-in-law has noticed that there seems to be more going on inside than what my little girl can tell us.

And that, I think, is what is scaring me the most. The fact that she does understand. The fact that she can participate in entire conversations and follow intricate directions – without ever saying a word. The fact that there are times when I can see the frustration on her face because she has something to tell me, and she can’t.

I don’t want that for her, because I know what it’s like to feel unheard.

So today, They are coming. And one way or another, I hope I will know something. Part of me is hoping that It Is Something – that I will have a clearly outlined plan to help. Do A, B and C and everything will be fine. At the very least, I’m hoping to come out with faith in my sanity and some assurance that, in time, everything really will be “OK”.

That’s the doorbell.

We’ll see what They say.

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About the Author: Becky