Wednesday, December 03, 2008

the other side

Early on, I suspected something was wrong with Ben because while he showed an interest in reading, in building, in walking, in coloring, in learning in general, he didn't show an interest in communicating. He didn't wave goodbye like most other toddlers. He didn't look us in the eye. He learned to say his letters but he wouldn't say mom or dad. In fact, he would lay awake at night, in the dark, repeating his letters until he fell asleep. He used to melt into tears and collapse into the ground and scream when the tiniest part of his routine was changed. This worried me tremendously. He seemed to be in this fog, this dreamy little letter-filled world of his own, that he couldn't or didn't want to escape and I couldn't penetrate.

We are on the other side of that tunnel now, and Benjamin tells jokes and tells me that he loves me, and looks me in the eye. Best of all, I know what his voice sounds like now and he wants to tell me what he did today and what he thinks is funny. He wants to tell me when he is mad at me and why. I waited so many months to hear him talk to me like this, and he does now. Sure, he's anxious and obsessive sometimes, but he has friends, he does well in school. He has caught up and I am not so worried.

Now we are entering another tunnel with Elliott. He is almost two, and he doesn't say anything at all. We had him evaluated yesterday and they told us that, aside from his physical skills, he is developmentally at the level of a 9-12 month old. They want him to see a psychologist and a geneticist. A therapist will begin coming to our house to work with him twice a week. I know it could be worse, that he could be missing legs or have a terrible illness or something like that. I know it is stupid to think that I did something wrong, or that I have some weird gene that causes my kids to not be able to communicate. The worse part is, I don't know what is on the other side of this tunnel with Elliott. We all just have to work through it together and hope for the best.

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