Thursday, October 8, 2009
Talking is Important
Two to three hours of each week is spent trying to get the twins to talk. We call this “speech therapy.” It is, thankfully, free through the county. Your tax dollars are helping my twins say “mama up please,” “goggy bark loud,” and “No eat yuck!!!” Things seem to be coming together for them. They are putting more and more words together and are actually speaking spontaneously instead of running around pointing and grunting like little cave people.
Over the summer, our regular speech therapist was off, and we let a substitute therapist, or the “Speech Nazi” into our home. She was hardcore. While our regular therapist likes to work with Daniel and Ella together and to have me involved, the summer therapist (I’ll call her Summer) sequestered herself with one twin in the playroom for intense one-on-one sessions that lasted a full hour. Often, I would hear yelling and crying coming from the room. (It was Daniel, not Summer.) I stuck my head in and Summer would shoo me away…. “We’re fine. He’s just being stubborn.”
Summer made it let known that I’m probably hindering their speech progress. For instance, Daniel calls cars “gowacks.” Instead of correcting him, I found myself just adding this new word to my regular vocabulary. Now whenever we go anywhere in the mini-van, there I am, shouting for everyone to “get in the gowack NOW!”
Summer was not amused. She refused to give poor Daniel his gowacks until he said car, making sure the beginning consonant was crisp and nothing like “g.” He would hurl himself on the floor and wail and kick and there may even have been some gnashing of teeth. She would simply wait until he stopped crying while I stood submissively to the side, wringing my hands and biting my lip. He would eventually stop and go to her and reach out his arms for his gowacks, and she would implore him (sternly) to say the correct word. The tantrums would recommence and this cycle would go on, sometimes, for a full hour.
“I think I can break him,” she said.
I didn’t know if I wanted anyone breaking my two year old. I mean, I didn’t imagine “breaking” Daniel would be necessary until he got to be about sixteen. He would be insubordinate and rebellious and we’d call those boot camp people to take him away in the middle of the night. He’d go off to camp for a while and come home contrite and meek, and full of the knowledge of just how good he had it. At his high school graduation, he’d give a speech about how we never gave up on him. I would cry and blow him kisses.
I’m aware that my imagination is completely whacked.
Anyway, Summer made great strides with Daniel. We said goodbye in August and our regular speech therapist, who is laid back and brings crafts and moves onto other activities when the tantrums begin, came back to us. Today, in the spirit of the season, we worked on Halloween terminology and now I am the proud mother of a two-year old girl who can say “vampire.”
We also decided to go for a walk. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there’s real live sunshine out there today.
I could not find Ella’s shoe.
I spend an exorbitant amount of time looking for things I’ve misplaced. Last night before class, I spent ten minutes searching for my keys. I am in constant pursuit of my slippers. This morning, I couldn’t find my debit card. I KNOW what I need to do. I need to have a set pattern… put everything in its place and have a place for everything and adhere to this rule every time I walk in the house or take off my slippers (slippers are important to me) or finish putting gas in the gowack. And yet, without thinking, I fling these things to the far corners of my house or stuff them with the lint in my pockets and now years of my life are gone… wasted, searching and swearing under my breath.
I spent twenty minutes searching for Ella’s shoe. I found it, of course, in the fridge, right next to the rogue apple that’s been rolling around in there for a week. Ella was ecstatic! She shouted,
“Ella shoe! Ella shoe ON! Walk! Walk!”
We were stunned! Four words! Together! It was almost like a sentence or a phrase… actual dialogue! Perhaps she won’t babble incoherently at us for the rest of her life, gleefully twirling her hair and spinning while muttering absolute gibberish. Were there real thoughts in her little head? And who knew she liked walks so much!
The mystery, of course, remains whether Ella put the shoe in the fridge or whether I did.
Since neither Ella or Daniel can actually open the fridge door, well, you can draw your own conclusions.