The other day my friend asked if I had scheduled a dentist appointment for Jackson.
“No,” I said. “He’s not ready.”
Even though our dentist had said we could wait until he was three or four, I was consumed by guilt that I hadn’t scheduled him an appointment.
My friend had taken her daughter and she had been a champ. The hygienist had brushed her teeth and she had walked away with all sorts of dental loot.
“We read books about the dentist and talked about it for several weeks,” my friend said.
Our pediatrician had also recommended that Jackson see a dentist at two, but I knew if would end up in disaster.
The kid has been held down to have his throat swabbed his entire life. There’s no way a dentist could look in his mouth. It would just be a battle ending with a nasty bite.
Like so many things I’m faced with as a mother, have to wonder what’s the rush?
I didn’t go to the dentist until I was in kindergarten.
I have healthy, pearly whites.
Whether it’s going to the dentist, speech development, potty training, or learning to read, it seems kids are expected to reach major milestones earlier and earlier.
I’ve felt the pressure from other mom’s and professionals since the day Jackson was born.
I’ve battled with guilt. I’ve questioned my ability as a mother.
Maybe I didn’t read to him enough.
I let him watch to many hours of Disney Channel.
I stopped taking him to story time when he began running around a like a wild Indian.
I’ve always felt the rush. The hurry.
Jackson was late to crawl.
He was over a year old when he took his first steps.
And now Jackson isn’t talking.
Wait, I take that back. He talks.
He’s a noise machine. He even says a few words.
We just can’t understand the majority of it. Unless he’s telling us no.
But he’s not saying the 50 words the pediatrician thinks he should be saying.
He’s not forming sentences.
So he’s considered behind.
And can I just tell you that this rips out a mama’s heart.
That a doctor can see him for a few minutes out of her day and label him “delayed.”
She doesn’t see what I see.
He’s smart and stubborn.
He’s got the best little personality.
And he clearly understands every word we say to him.
And he pushes our buttons anyway. There are days I just want to pull my hair out.
We’ve had him in speech therapy for almost a year. We’re actually about to start a new speech program because we aren’t seeing the progress we had hoped for. Our pediatrician was discouraged by his lack of words during his two-year check up.
I know we’ve made the right decisions for him, and yes, technically he probably should be saying a few more words by now. But I can’t help but wonder if some of his speech delays are due to the fact that he’s a boy.
A very rambunctious boy who never slows down.
He plays and he plays hard.
Sitting still to read a book doesn’t fit his personality.
He’d rather ram his trucks into my wall and torment his seven pound Yorkie.
When the guilt consumes me. When I worry and wonder if he will ever talk. When I start comparing him to other kids and thoughts of what I’ve done wrong swirl through my head, I have to remind myself of something.
My son is fearfully and wonderfully made.
I recently read that “each child is born with an individual temperament and time clock of development. Children learn new skills when they are ready.” (Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood.)
Just like he finally crawled and finally took those first steps, Jackson will talk.
And when he does I’ll be wishing for a moment of silence.