Thursday, February 28, 2008

What Normal Sounds Like

"Hey, Dad, do you want to see what I put in my white-and-orange sack?"

"Mommy, I want to read that book called 'The Fire Cat' again."

"We're having Mrs. Nelson for a substitute tomorrow."

Not more than two months ago, maybe less, those sentences would have read as follows:

"Hey, Dad, do you want to see what I put in that thing? That thing! That thing! There! That thing THERE!" [A tantrum follows.]

"Mommy, I want to read that book again. That book with the thing? The animal thing? NO, not THAT BOOK! The OTHER BOOK! NO NOT THAT ONE!" [A tantrum follows.]

"We're having a substitute yesterday. That teacher I like? That girl? The one we had next month? That OTHER GIRL! THE ONE WE HAD ANOTHER DAY!" [A tantrum follows.]

I have no idea what has changed. He started speech therapy at around the time that Baroy and I started REALLY noticing a huge difference in his language skills, but I mean literally started. Like had his first or second sessions. No way the speech therapist deserves all the credit for this one. Though, hey, if it means this period of enhanced speech development keeps up, then I'll give it to her.

It's amazing, though, how much harder it is to notice 'normal' than it is to notice 'disordered.' It really just sort of dawned on us, slowly, that we were starting to understand him more often, without interpretation, without context. These examples above stood out because of how exceptional they are in their specificity. I mean, before, he wouldn't have even been able to express that he was talking about what he put in a 'sack,' much less think to describe the COLOR of the sack, to make it easier for the person listening to him to know what he's talking about. And the fact that he's not only getting temporal references right, but he remembered the name of a substitute teacher he had...that's remarkable, considering that he has regularly had trouble recalling the names of two of the three women we see EVERY WEEK, who he has known since he was born, who he adores, and at whose homes he has slept over many times.

I am, I must say, absolutely flabbergasted. And thrilled. And excited to see what comes next.


Anonymous said...

It is amazing, isn't it? I like to think of these things as huge developmental leaps. We seem to have had one of our own recently--a sudden and newfound maturity, better communication, more control--it's a huge and welcome change.

By the way, I also think these dramatic leaps are preceded by some of the worst behavior known to man. One of these days I'm going to remember (in the middle of the out of control phase) to relax and wait for the leap.

Does that make any sense?

po said...

That is sooooo awesome! It must be wonderful for N too, to suddenly have people KNOW what he's talking about without having to try repeatedly to make himself understood (you people FINALLY wised up! :D)

And I hope kristenspina is right about the worst behavior preceding the dramatic leap, because Matthew is obviously about to turn into Mother Teresa :p

Anonymous said...

parenting theory definitely supports the "getting worse before it gets better" mode of development. Kids regress big time right before a developmental leap. Even well into adolescence. Hmm. Maybe adults do too?

Green said...

This is awesome. I'm so happy for him and you guys. I hope it continues in this direction.

Meg said...

Wow! What awesome news. As Po says, N must feel so wonderful having people understand him.