You turn three on Monday. Three already! Not my tiny baby anymore.
I always write a post about you and your brother on your birthdays, to celebrate you, and the year you have had. To remind me of all those precious times, and so I never forget what you were like. But this post is going to be really hard to write, because I can’t write about you turning three without talking about how difficult this year has been.
We first raised our concerns at your two year check. You weren’t yet talking. And although you should never compare your kids, your older brother and renowned chatterbox, was talking at your age. The Health Visitor referred you for an appointment with a speech therapist.
Life continued as normal whilst we waited for that appointment. We worried, but put it to the back of our minds. Months later when we were finally seen everything changed. Within a minute of being in that hot stuffy room, big scary words were being mentioned and very suddenly your future looked uncertain. Givens were not givens anymore. And whilst there was nothing life threatening, and people have been through far worse, my world was none the less rocked.
We were referred to a child development consultant and again began a long agonising wait for the appointment. In the months that followed I cried a lot. I’m not very good at uncertainty, it sends me a little bit crazy. I am very good at obsessing and over analysing things. I watched everything you did, went over every detail, read article after article, questioned everything, tied myself in knots, and cried many more tears.
For a while there life got really hard. Your tantrums were extreme. Born from the frustration of not being able to communicate your needs, but they brought me to my knees, literally. The times I have sat on the kitchen floor and sobbed whilst you raged. It brings me to tears just thinking about it.
I put our life on hold. I shouldn’t have, but I did. I avoided going places because of the tantrums. I avoided going places because the bigger you got, the more I had to explain your delays people, and there were times when I just didn’t want to talk about it.
I found it so incredibly hard to see your peers all chatting away. It made me sad for you. Scared for you. Friends facebook statuses about their little ones would make me cry, because I couldn’t share the same about you.
I spent so much time worrying.
The thought of you starting playgroup made me feel sick. Would you cope? What if you couldn’t go to a normal school? What if you couldn’t get a job. What if you never left home? what if? What if? What if?
Then there was your Daddy. My rock. The one who hugged me every time I cried. The one who kept telling me it would be okay until I believed it. The one who told me to slow down and to take one day at a time. And more importantly the one who told me to enjoy you.
And I am so so sorry my baby boy, because for a little while I didn’t see you. I just saw all the problems. I was too worried and scared to appreciate the wonderful little boy that you are. And it was one of my sitting on the kitchen floor sobbing moments when you came over to me, patted my shoulder and curled yourself into my lap, that through my tears I saw you again. My sunshine in the rain.
My gorgeous boy with never ending energy. The one who introduced me to interval training which has now become the school run as we race down the road, then stop for a few seconds before you shout “Go!” and we are running again. Man you are fast!
My little boy who loves being outdoors and big open spaces to run free. My little boy who loves jumping in muddy puddles. My little boy who rocks a hat.
My little boy who loves “Po Pat” and his black and white cat. My little boy who loves dressing up. My little boy who loves sausages and bacon, but turns his nose up at all fruit. My little boy who would do anything for cake. So much so that it was one of your first words!
My little boy who loves kisses and cuddles and tickles and bundles. My little boy whose favourite game is “night night” so I lay on the floor and you climb all over me. My little boy who hero worships his big brother and laughs like crazy at the things he does.
My little boy whose smile lights up a room.
And I see your progress. Your building vocabulary, putting words together. Your tantrums getting so less frequent now you can communicate more. And how we celebrate your successes and cheer you on. There’s something incredibly magical when your child calls you mama or Mummy or Mum for the first time. But with you? It fills my heart every time you say “Mum”.
We saw the consultant at the end of last year. A really lovely man who was so passionate about his job. He spent so much time with you, and was the first person in our journey so far to ask us what we thought. He was very confident that there were no underlying causes, that you just had a speech delay and that you would get there in your own time, you would catch up.
We still have a long way to go. The speech therapists we have seen since are still using big scary words and labels, and it feels like we are in a bit of a battle to understand. They don’t agree with the consultant. We don’t always agree with what they say. We are fighting for you. Fighting to get you help and support, and fighting to make sure it’s the right help and support. It’s a bit of a roller coaster. Through it all, I maintain that whilst they are the experts in their fields, we are the experts in you.
I’m learning to live with the uncertainty, to focus on the now. And most importantly to enjoy you.
And you? You continue to thrive. You continue to learn and grow. You started playgroup and you love it. I find it hard not knowing what you got up to in those three hours without me. However, the smile on your face when you run out the door to see me is priceless.
You are stubborn and funny and unique and wonderful.
You make me smile every day.
You’ve taught me to see the sunshine through the rain.
Happy third birthday my darling boy with the crazy hair. I love you.