I realize that to some people it may seem that he doesn’t know how to tell me what he wants or maybe that he forgets the words and needs to be reminded but that isn’t the case at all. When he wants to, he becomes very animated and can express a lot. For instance one day, he let go of his balloon outside of the grocery store and it was windy and it blew away. For days he would go on and on, saying, “man-oo (his word for balloon) lkdsjlkgjsalgjlkahgahg FLOATED AWAY!!!!!”. Yes, there is mumbling but it is more there because he has a lot he wants to express and is so very excited to be telling you something.
I know, I know, the differences seem subtle, but it is also his attitude when he does this. He also tends to be much more verbal and clear when others are around. People say all the time that they can’t believe how much he knows or how well he is doing and yet when we are at home, I feel that he is choosing NOT to communicate in a clear way.
Then there are times when he bursts out with complete sentences, which leave Jason and I staring in disbelief. The night we spent in the ER, we asked him where Isaac was, just making conversation, and he replies, “Isaac in his bed, sleeping, with a nightlight.” HUH??? Did you seriously just say that? Clear as day? And a few weeks ago, I took him to a little drop-in childcare place at a local church. I told him it was school because he is always begging to go to school. That night when I was telling Jason about it, Matthew interrupted us to say, “Today was Matthew’s turn to go to school.” To which I again say, “SERIOUSLY??????”.
You also have to understand that those 2 sentences are the most he has EVER said at any time in the entire 6 months he has been home. EVER. That is why I remember them verbatim. Six months is a LONG time to live with someone who does not communicate with you. Obviously when you have a baby it is different, but when you are dealing with a child who can’t or won’t it is a world of difference.
I completely see that whether he “can’t” or “won’t” is still up for debate. Both have a strong case going for them. I don’t know if it is because he lacks the ability to communicate or is refusing to communicate. I only know that he doesn’t.
As ridiculous as it sounds, I feel so very manipulated by him right now, which makes me angry first, and then makes me feel so petty. I know that kids have so little control over their own lives, so that is why potty training is hard, picky eaters are hard. They can’t control much, but they can control when and where they go potty and what they eat. I never thought about communication as a way to control until recently, because that is what I think he is doing. I don’t fault him for looking for ways to maintain some sort of control after his life went topsy-turvy 6 months ago, but I just want to scream, “yes, you are making this really hard for me (congratulations!!), but don’t you see that you are making it so hard for yourself too??”.
Then I wonder, could it be medical? Could there actually be something that is caused by the clefts in his brain to make him unable to communicate at some times and able at other times?
And then I internally berate myself because I am 32, and he is 3.
But I am human, and the way I feel is the way I feel.
The truth is that I feel like our bonding and attachment has hit a standstill right now, and I hate that. I hate it. I want to “be there” with him, and I’m just not. And it’s not even that I’m not there, it is that some days I honestly feel like I’m losing ground. I did not want to be feeling like this 6 months in. I did not expect to feel like this 6 months in.
Today we were outside and the boys were riding tricycles and Matthew did something that he chooses to do a lot. He positions the tricycle in front of some sort of a roadblock…..a drainage pipe, large landscaping rocks around the mailbox, or in this case, a brick wall. And over and over, he attempts to drive over it or through it. Sometimes he does this for 20-30 minutes, working quietly. Today he whined and struggled. So I went to him and tried to put him on a clear course. He immediately drug his tricycle back and began banging into the brick wall again and again. Such a metaphor for our relationship right now.