“Yeah!” That’s about the extent of Marshall’s talking right now. He can make a bunch of other sounds, and it does sound like he says, “Nonna” when he’s at his grandparents’ house, but other than that, “Yeah!” is his most common response. Ask him a yes or no question, and he’ll say it with enthusiasm. Sometimes, I wonder if he understands the questions, but he’ll shake his head if he doesn’t like what you’re asking.
“Kiss Daddy?” Shake.
“Give me a hug?” Shake.
“Do you love Daddy?”
At 23 months, he can sign for “more” when he’s eating, he has a sign for “water” which is, unfortunately, very similar to his sign for “stinky”. That can make for confusing diaper changes. “Daddy” was his first word. “All done” is what he shows us when he’s full, and he can also show us “wash hands”. A few months ago, I saw a Facebook memory come up on my homepage from Quinn’s second birthday. At that age, Quinn was able to speak in simple sentences and have basic conversations with us (I think – it’s all a blur now, to be honest). Marshy isn’t quite there yet.
Oh, there’s no doubt he understands everything we say, though. This past weekend, I took his boots off at the back of the house. I asked him to pick up both boots and take them to the front door, and he did it perfectly. Since his surgery to put tubes in his ears, he has gained a lot of steam in his development. It’s pretty amazing to witness his growth right now.
Still, it worries me that I don’t know how to approach the delay in communication. Fortunately, we have just started participating in a special program at The Hanen Centre in Toronto for parents of young children with delays in communication.
Last week was the orientation session. I’ll be honest – 2.5 hours a week on a Wednesday night, for several months? I know it’s essential that we get some more information and knowledge about this, but I was grumpy as hell last week. Tired from work, hungry, and all I wanted to do was sit down and do nothing. And of course, the session was amazing and enlightening.
We were surrounded by a small group of parents in similar situations. I didn’t really know what to expect, and thought that Marshall would be the only child (it’s just for parents – you leave your kids at home) with a syndrome, but I was wrong. There was a lot of anxiety in that room, but you could feel the love from all of the parents. The small group I was talking to shared their situations, and they were all in the same boat. Some had less information than we have about our child. Everyone had the same goal – to figure out how to give our children the tools they need to tell us how they’re feeling and what they want.
I’m trying very hard not to go to “what ifs” with Marshall, like “What if he never learns to talk?” I know it’s unlikely, but possible, and yet thinking like that does me no good. My heart already melts whenever he I see the twinkle of understanding in his eyes. He has started playing silly little games with his brother, his exuberant laugh ringing throughout the car on longer drives. One day, I’m sure he’ll stop grunting to indicate disapproval, and maybe – just maybe – when I ask for a kiss, he’ll say, “Of course, Dad!”