Still No Word



Archer's supposed to be talking by now, but he isn't.

"Does he have any words yet?" Our pediatrician asked last week, at Archer's two-year appointment.

"No."

"Not any? Six months ago you said he had a few words."

"I know..."

I lied to her at the last appointment. I didn't want to take Archer to therapy. I didn't want to get him tested. I was afraid of what that meant for us. I figured he would get there on his own. Just like he did with crawling at thirteen-months and walking at seventeen.

I told myself to wait until he turned 2. "He'll surely be talking by then," I thought.

For the past six months I've tried everything I can think of to get Archer talking. But still no words. No "Mama". No "Dada". No nothing.

"He doesn't have words. Not a single one," I admitted.

"I see," she said, scribbling away on her clip-board. Big illegible scribbles that I tried to read upside down but could not.

I tightened my arms around Archer. I repeated over to myself and to him not to worry.

"He's just a late-bloomer," I said. "He has always done things on his own time."

That's okay! That's good! That is how it should be!


I do not like doctors. I do not like therapists and I should know, I've been to my fare share. I have sought help for myself on many occasions, but Archer is so young. Too young.

"I'd like him to see a therapist. Run some tests. Don't worry," she said. "I'm sure everything's fine."

She handed us a phone number. "Call here. They will come to your house. It's free."

"Okay," I said, but inside I was screaming, "No!" Fuck you! No! Leave him alone! Give him time! He's fine! He's perfect! He doesn't need anyone to talk to him or test him or teach him! Fuck you! Fuck all of you!"

I took the card. We made the call. We are waiting.

I'm crying as I write this and I don't know why. Okay, I do know why but I don't want to talk about it. I don't want to talk about why I'm scared or why I feel like I've failed myself and him.

"It's just a therapist, Bec," I tell myself.

It's just a therapist.

Since the beginning of my pregnancy I have been adamant about doing it all myself. Without the books and the specialists and the bullshit. I didn't read the books. I stopped subscribing to the babycenter newsletter long ago. I don't believe in waiting lists or classes or private education. I believe in living. And showing my child the way to do so passionately. I hate tests. I fight with teachers. I am stubborn as all hell. I want to do it my way. And as a parent, I have trusted that I am the one who knows what's best for my child. I know what Archer needs and I can and should be able to give it to him.

Until now I haven't been worried about what Archer "should" be doing because I see how happy he is wandering around on his own.

"He's on his own path..."



And we have all enjoyed watching him:



"Whatever we need to do," I said.

And suddenly I was vulnerable. I am vulnerable-- forced to stuff my "fuck the man" attitude in my back pocket and do as I am told. Opening my house to a stranger so that she can get my son to speak because I can't. I must go against what is natural for him to do now because his development is not "normal." And that is cause for concern.

"I'm not concerned. Everything is fine," I have been saying all this time.

What if I've been wrong?

The feeling in my gut is that everything is okay. He's a late bloomer but so what? I keep myself away from web pages that might suggest otherwise.

Oh God... He's obsessed with spinning things.

He's in his own world. He wanders aimlessly, talking to the clouds. Laughing.


There is no possible way I could ever love this child more, no possible way I could ever love this child less. He is perfect, even though I've been told that perfection is impossible.

"Nobody is perfect."

I beg to differ. Archer IS perfect. And he always will be. No matter what. Just the way he is. Slowly making his way down a path, as his peers speed by.

And it doesn't matter to him because the only prints he can see are his own.


It shouldn't matter. He will get there. Wherever he's going.

I only hope I can guide him as best as I can, that I can be open to specialists and therapists and all the "ists", if need be.

Because for whatever reason, that is my biggest concern. That is what's scariest to me. Seeking help when I feel like I'm the one who should be giving it.

GGC

cross-posted at straight from the bottle

86 comments:

mfk | 12:07 AM

What a rough situation... I'm sorry. I worked with late-talking 2-yr-olds last summer in the LA area (with the LA Speech and Language Therapy Center, if you're interested, though I think it may be only for low-income kids, but maybe a good starting point)... Of course you love him and want him to be okay. But the sooner he starts the easier it will be, for both of you probably... I saw SO much improvement in those kids' verbal skills last summer even over the space of a few weeks... and guess what, even though they were there to be "fixed", they were still lovable and munchable and affectionate and yes, perfect, even when they weren't. If you ever doubt his perfection, just take a look into those eyes (see pic below for quick fix :)). You are both already so much more than just "okay". You're wonderful.

Scarlett | 12:11 AM

I love you. And i'm sending love and good thoughts. always. :)

Anonymous | 12:57 AM

Is the dirty word we all want to say but won't "autism"? I hope not but if so, I know you will be okay. And I'm sorry.

nila | 2:04 AM

My son was a late talker. He was in a special program, they put him in special ed, bastards! We did it for a while then decided it was bullshit and pulled him out. He started talking on his own at 3 and we can't get him to shut up now. They thought for a while that he was autistic because he would walk around in circles a lot. The ists like to scare you, more funding, job security or money for them. But we went along, we love him and would do anything, even what the itsts tell us to do. But in the end, only you know your child and what he needs. It's a good thing to have him tested and stuff, but follow your motherly intuition. Mother knows best, after all. My son is still not perfect, who the hell is. Now he has some growing issues and is very small. Being a late talker pales in comparison to the social issues we have now with him being so much smaller than his peers. There's always something.

Sorry, didn't mean to babble on. But this an issue very close to my heart.

Whit | 2:12 AM

I feel for you. Our oldest didn't start talking until a couple of weeks past two, but the doctors never even questioned it.

All of our friends kids were talking, but they were all girls and everyone said boys take longer. I think it's true.

Now he won't shut up.

Queen Heather | 4:19 AM

You are breaking my heart. Because I know exactly how you feel. My anti-ist feelings, the belief my son is fine, but the doubt caused by what others think. But you know he is on his own path and it IS different than the path of most, but why is that wrong? Why is that not normal?

I've been holding a post on why my son isn't "normal" for a while but I think you've inspired me to post it this week.

I have no words of wisdom except to trust yourself more than any one else. Lots of hugs to you.

metro mama | 4:57 AM

I know what you're going through:

http://riverdalemama.blogspot.com/2007/06/use-your-words.html

Good luck and please keep us posted!

Laundry & Children | 5:28 AM

Our oldest son needed to see a therapist because at two years old he had a grand total of 3 words. It was so frustrating for him not to be able to communicate. After just 5 months of therapy he was released from the program early and now is 4 and doing great in Pre-school. Our third son was a late bloomer and needed a threapist because he wasn't walking. I tried to put it off and put it off. Of course, the day after the therapist came he took his first steps and just two months later he runs all over the house.

I only tell you this so that you have some possitive therapy stories to roll around in your head. Our experiences were great and really helped our sons. I shared your feelings of wanting to do it all myself and letting instict lead the way, but sometimes a little help is good too.

JamesMommy | 5:38 AM

Sending good thoughts and energy your way. For what it's worth, many highly intelligent, fully functioning people are late talkers. It's rumored that Einstein didn't talk until after age 3.

Aline | 5:45 AM

It's so nice to see the comments before this one and hear of others who have similar stories! Bec, your family is very far from alone in this matter.

Although you may have mixed feelings about therapists or psychologists, I like to believe they chose their field because of their love for children and humanity.

It's okay to be freaked out and pissed off that some stranger claims to know more about your own kid than you do! Stop searching the internet to find out what's "wrong" with him. We all know he's perfect!

I hope that your therapist is as amazingly wonderful as he/she should be, and that your experience is a positive one today.

jeanie | 5:50 AM

Just lots of supportive cyber waves your way...

Was it Einstein or Churchill who didn't talk until they were 4?

In the Trenches of Mommyhood | 6:28 AM

You put into eloquent words exactly how I feel about my son (who turns 2 at the end of June) not talking yet.
It's the uncertainty that's the worst.

Shelli | 6:29 AM

Just wanted to send some support your way. I can imagine how perplexing this is to you (your world seems to be surrounded by "words" in your life and in your work). And oddly, words just don't seem to flow for Archer yet. You are taking the right next step.

Sending you lots of positive energy. Hugs to you!

liz | 6:45 AM

The few kids I've known that have had therapy at an early age (my oldest son being one of them) have all had such great success. It's the best to start them early and you need to remember this has nothing to do with you and how you have raised him. You didn't do anything wrong. Therapy is not something to be scared of in this situation - you need to embrace it and take full advantage of it. It'll be hard but you will get through it and remember progress not perfection. I look back at my situation with my son and have all but forgotten most of it - it's not even an issue today. I'm sure it will be like that for you in a few years also:)

Kendra | 6:59 AM

I know this sounds cliche, but try not to worry. Take it from a mama that has been there. When my now 3yo was about 22 months, my MIL had him "looked at" by her BIl - a speech pathologist. My son did not have many words that were recognizable to outside adults...my husband, older son and I knew what he meant. We were told by this BIL that he was showing signs of delay. So....off to therapy we went. The therapist that worked with him was wonderful....therapy today is more like play....not the old "let's-sit-at-a-table-and-say-words-from-a-book." They have some very unique ways of getting kids to respond. She/he may touch some spot in Archer that causes him to explode with words! Keep an open mind and give it a shot. You may be suprised. BTW.....my now 3yo now has more words than I care to admit :) Good luck to you and Archer.....

Andrea | 7:01 AM

Oh, Bec. It's not something you've failed to provide/do for him. You haven't failed. In fact, Archer has more life experience because of you than some adults I know.

And you know he has words, they're just internal. And when they come out, they'll be breathtaking, just like his mama's words.

So if he needs a little help getting his words out, won't it be worth it just to hear what those words are?

Big hug to you. It's tough, the worry. And a testament to your love for him that you can shove your "fuck the man" in your back pocket if it means that, if Archer truly needs help, you're going to get it for him. You're very brave, mama. Don't let yourself think otherwise.

Loukia | 7:01 AM

I heard an ad on the radio the other day, promoting reading and literacy. And they had a child reading from a book, complete sentences, everything. At the end the radio man said: "That was a 2 year old reading a book." Yeah, right! Come on... for a second I was panicked, wondering why my son who is almost 2 is not reading yet. Then I realized how stupid that thought was. Other 2 year olds say complete sentences but that does NOT make them any smarter then 2 year olds who only babble and laugh and/or say a handful or words. Everything in time. I know you'll be fine and so will your beautiful, smart son.

Her Bad Mother | 7:09 AM

Oh, friend! Am sending you the fiercest hugs. And biggest thank you's, for exposing your heart to us (again, again)

He IS perfect. He is PERFECT. Words don't change that.

Summer | 7:27 AM

Sending you lots of cyber hugs. It can be so scary and frustrating and frightening. One of my best friend's sons didn't start talking until he was 3 and I remember how often she cried from fear. She actually taught him sign language, which he picked up so quick. 6 months later he was talking like there had never been a problem. I hope it all gets better for you.

Angela | 7:30 AM

I work with a beautiful four year old, who at two had no words, not mama or dada. She was put into speech therapy and within a couple months made it 50ish words (I kept a list but got distracted around 100). She's been in speech therapy for the past 2.5 years and the growth is amazing, she barely qualifies anymore, if not for a medical condition affecting her vocal cords. It might be all that Archer needs, that little extra help from someone who is trained and qualified. It's better to catch it now that not have him catch up with his peers at all.

Hugs to you!

karen | 7:47 AM

Have his teeth checked. That might sound goofy but I know a toddler who had similar mannerisms to what you describe and it turned out that his 2-year molars were cracked. He must have been in so much pain and never gave a peep about it! After his teeth were fixed, conversations appeared and he became much more interactive with the world. He's still happy to play on his own but now also plays with other children. Your son might not complain because he might not know there's another way to exist.

Country Mouse | 7:52 AM

Rebecca, I invite you to email me at sheepinthemeadow [at] gmail [dot] com. I'd be glad to talk over my very similar experiences with my son.

For now, though, I'll just say that speech therapy is nothing — repeat, NOTHING — to be scared of. In my son's case, it's meant speech therapy twice a week. He views "Miss Yibby" as his special playmate, and misses her now that he's turned three. (He'll be starting with a new therapist this fall, because at three he switched into a program that follows the school calendar.)

My son was and is also fascinated by spinning things, and especially by anything that rolls. No one (at least, no one outside of busybodies who aren't experts and haven't met him) has ever suggested the possibility of autism, because he's also an outgoing, socially aware child. I don't think you need to worry about Archer being pigeonholed into a diagnosis for the sake of a diagnosis. Therapists don't try to give kids diagnoses they don't need: despite what a previous poster insinuated about them doing so for the sake of job security, in my experience they're quite busy enough as it is.

Last of all, please rememer that you do not have to be the sole provider of all things that are good to your son. He's allowed to learn from others as well. It can be hard as a parent, when you want to give your child everything; but that's part of your job as a parent, to know when to let go a little and let someone else help too.

This will make his world bigger, not smaller. This will give him the chance to be loved by more people, not fewer.

Fraulein | 8:06 AM

Keeping you in my thoughts here in Beantown. Try to keep the faith -- I'll bet it's just a pattern (late crawling/late walking linked to late talking). I know SO many people with boys who did all those things way later than the books say they should, and they turned out just fine.

There's a well-known story in my family about how my father didn't say a word until well after his 3rd birthday. Nobody knew why. He's spent the past 70-something years making up for lost time!

Bringing Up Ben | 8:42 AM

*hugs*

It's all going to work out. I know sometimes it's hard to see that when you are in the middle of everything. But it's going to be OK.

*more hugs*

Anonymous | 8:49 AM

Bec,
I think I've shared with you before my son's story, similar to Archer's, and how much he actually benefitted from speech therapy after I finally got over my "fuck the man" attitude myself. I struggled so long with the IDEA that someone else could provide my child with something that I couldn't and if I couldn't do it, then what kind of mother was I? How horribly had I failed my child!? Finally though, I decided to stuff those feelings aside, and just "test" it out. Turns out my son LOVED his speech therapist, had a blast playing with her once a week and gained so in 6 months that he was released from the program long before HE wanted to be! My son still has a speech impedement and the truth is that he will likely have it for a long time because I waited so very long to get him the help he needed seeing as I was so adamently against all this "therapy-crap". In the end, it was so true what some other lady has also pointed out. these people get into this line of work because they love kids and they want them all to succeed and be the best they can be. As mothers we think we should be the EVERYTHING to our child, the caregiver, nurturer, kiss the boobooer, cook, maid, butt wiper, chauffeur, educator, book reader, toy player, park taker ... you get the idea. Truth is, we're only human and last I checked I don't have a degree in child speech therapy.. so sometimes (not always mind you!) it really is best to let an expert on that specific matter check things out. THat does not mean in any way that you are not THE EXPERT when it comes to your child. You will ALWAYS be the expert on Archer. No one can take that away. It's kind of like when you got the nanny to help out a few hours a week. She didn't replace you! She dind't become Archer's Everything... YOU still were and always will be. You are just pulling in the resources you need that may, or may not, benefit Archer. You have nothing to lose by doing this and just "trying" it out. If it doesn't feel right or Archer doesn't take to it after a few sessions or you just don't like how it's going, it's not permanent, there's no contract saying you MUST continue it! Just pull him out and say "no, thanks". None of this therapy precludes you continuing to LIVE with Archer and teach him by living, which is what you do best. This doesn't preclude you frmo continuing to expose him to life and doing all teh wonderful things you do together. This is n't a life sentence! It's just a little therapy to see if playing certain specific types of games will help ignite his speech. That's all my son needed, a little therapy-play doled out with very loving, experienced hands that I trusted and he trusted. And all of this rambling to say that if you decide NOT to try the therapy, that's OK too! You have to follow your gut. I just wanted to share with you a great experience I/we had despite my HUGE initial reservatiosn about the whole thing... for whatever that's worth.
None of this negates how PERFECT archer is or how incredible a mother you are to him. Those things are facts and the therapy does not in any way modify those facts. Two totally separate things. Love you both, hang in there. You are in my thoughts,
Pascale

clueless but hopeful mama | 9:49 AM

I know how hard it is to reach out to the "experts" and I'm someone who loves experts. Give me a book about babies and I've read it. Tell me about a website giving advice and I've bookmarked it.

But I was so terrified of what it meant to take my Z to a physical therapist. I had failed. It was all binary to me. Black or white. I could take care of her by myself or I couldn't. It's just not that stark. A little therapy here and there can be supportive of your parenting which is always primary. Testing and diagnosis may be necessary but completely beside the point. There are great therapists out there for kids. If you don't find one you love, get another one, fast.

You trust your instincts and your lovely boy will be just fine. He is so lucky to have such a strong, supportive mother.

Jill | 10:06 AM

"Perfect" and "normal" are two totally different things.

All kids are square pegs in one way or another. As parents, we get to spend all our time worrying about those squared edges and when we should try to file them down and when we should let them be. It's endless and this is just the beginning.

You're doing the right thing. Those therapists aren't usurping your role. They'll do their thing and you'll do yours.

BethGo | 11:00 AM

I think this is the first time I have ever been to your blog. I don't know you or your son but I think you are absolutely right. Your son is beautiful and wonderful and PERFECT.

He's welcome for a playdate at our house anytime. :) You are too.

This post made me cry.

Domestic Chicky | 11:21 AM

Becca, Connor was the same way...now he won't.stop.talking.

Archer is just waiting for the perfect time, and the perfect words...

Scurvyann (Linda) | 11:34 AM
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scurvyann (Linda) | 11:38 AM

My son C6 was a lad of few words for a long long time. He was really into the sign language thing, and also created his own "words" for things. He totally got his point across, just not using English! We had the Early Intervention folks come by and do some TESTs. I was a-scared! C6 isn't one to perform on command, so he wasn't exactly "on" for the first day of tests. The second day he loosened up, and the testers saw that he was able to communicate in his own way. They said even though he wasn't really speaking many "real" words, he wasn't in need of their help. Whew. And the next day? C6 spit out a few "real" words. And he hasn't looked back. Try not to worry, hun! Archer's the MAN!

BOSSY | 12:07 PM

Bec: The doctors and therapists don't have to be the enemy, the "other". They can also be your teammates. Don't panic, check things out. Sometimes early intervention solves problem things. In this way you can feel good about being proactive. And maintain your fiercely protective and critical eye, it's served Archer well. Love, Bossy.

Jenn | 12:15 PM

Hugs and hope to you.

And he will get there; trust in that.

kgirl | 12:43 PM

It's funny, because from the first sentence I was repeating to myself words that I knew I would eventually read - don't tell her he's not perfect.

It is heartbreaking when someone tells you that your child is not perfect. Especially when you know that he couldn't possibly be any more perfect than he already is.

Keep doing what you're doing - your love for him jumps off the page.

Paige | 12:53 PM

Sending good thoughts your way.

Jenny | 1:09 PM

Don't be afraid: I understand that its hard for someone who's a first time parent. I have faith in your son and you

Jaci | 1:25 PM

When I read your post, it really was emotional for me. You put into words exactly how I feel about my 2 1/2 year old son.

I have four kids, three hit every milestone just when every silly book told me they would.
But not my youngest son, he didn't walk until he was 17 months and I still can't understand most of what he is trying to say to me. For better or for worse, his twin sister translates for us. She talks and walks circles around her brother, which must frustrate the hell out of him.

This parenthood thing is crazy in every way. Thanks for sharing your post, I'll be thinking of you.

nonlineargirl | 3:22 PM

Every kid runs on his own schedule. I offer (not as a message that I know how things will turn out, just as a random stranger's experience) that my sister did not talk until she was 2. She is now finishing a PhD in English at a prestigious university.

Binky | 3:46 PM

I can't really come up with words right now, either.

But I'm thinking of you guys.

Anonymous | 4:05 PM

Becca, you are so strong. my mom has gone through this twice with both of my brothers. Noah (4) is going in for testing to see if he's autistic in a month. He was just like that, not talking a bit. I'm so scared for him because I don't know how to help. But he's really made progress with speech therapy in just year or so. Have hope. Things will turn out alright no matter what. All my hope and love. -Gillian

dillyweed | 4:55 PM

Ok. I'll admit it, I'm an 'ist' - an occupational therapist. But for adults, so don't worry. ok?
I was just wondering if he makes eye contact with you and other people around him? If he does, that's a good sign.
(and it seems like he does from the pictures of him looking at the camera)...
Just keep your chin up. He's got a mama who loves him and that's what matters most.
Big BIG hugs to you!

p.s. and if something turns out where he needs more 'help', you are in LA... the place to be if you need support and good schools. Ya know?

ecg | 5:33 PM

i hope you trust your MIL...she's been totally real and honest. she loves the sagebrush and believes this is just a normal developmental glitch. once archman starts talking our language, since he's created his own and maybe he thinks WE ALL should have some speech therapy, he'll probably be like his dad....a motormouth. love you, ecg

Anonymous | 6:10 PM

I've read your blog for a while now and I'd just like to say go with your gut if you think he is okay then he probably IS okay! my little brother didn't start talking until he was THREE and now at 15 we can't get him to shut up..ever..Good luck!

Reluctant Housewife | 7:10 PM

You are a powerful mother. I've never met Archer, but I can tell from the way you write that he is an amazing boy.

My nephew was just like Archer when he was two. He went (and still goes) to therapists. It's been a very positive experience for him. We felt like we had let him down. Truth is, these professionals really do care about the kids.

There's nothing wrong with needing (and getting) help.

Big hugs.

dillyweed | 11:20 PM

I wanted to add something that my friend (who is a speech therapist actually) asked me tonight when I told her about Archer:
"Does he understand what the people around him are saying and respond to that?"
She said that it is really important piece to all of this.
Oh, and to get him in to see someone soon. It can make a big difference she said. :)
Big hugs.

Heide | 5:26 AM

I love how you can so clearly communicate your love for Archer. I remember before I had my daughter, my MIL was telling me about when she had her first baby, and how she didn't just love her, she was IN LOVE WITH HER. I know now what she meant, and that's the feeling I get when I read your blog. It runs deeper than anything else, it's visceral. Archer is just Archer, and he's already got what he needs the most, a mom who loves him as much as you do -- Plus he has all us minions who are falling in love with him through your blog!

Rock the Cradle | 6:20 AM

No matter what happens, Archer is an amazing, wonderful little boy and you are an amazing, wonderful mother.

HUGE hugs to both of you.

toyfoto | 9:18 AM

You know he's perfect. And no matter what anyone says he will always be perfect. Hugs, girl.

kittenpie | 10:55 AM

Chicky is having the same concern, as is Metro, just so you know you're not alone.

And? I knew one kid when I taught daycare who had no words at 2, and ha caught up by 2.5 with some early intervention, which can really help them make huge strides. It's not all bad, hon.

Anonymous | 11:09 AM

To some degree, your unhappiness with 'ists" is understandable, but what if Archer needed the help of a phlebotomist, or an internist, or a dentist, or anesthesiologist, or any of the myriad specialists who help those with problems specific to their training?
Unfortunately, you cannot control all you want to control - no one can. Relax and all will be well!

emjaybee | 11:22 AM

We may be in the same boat. My Nathan is 18 months, loves spinning things, and has about 6 recognizable words (every now and then he'll say one but never repeat it). He is perfectly fine otherwise, just in no hurry to talk. But if he doesn't gain words, his doc said we should consider testing + therapy. Which makes me feel just like you do.

Maybe it would help to think of talking like a skill that some kids grasp on their own, but others need a teacher for. Like learning to play hockey, or sing, or sculpt--you wouldn't mind an adult teaching them that instead of you. Maybe speaking fluently isn't all that different.

pixie sticks | 11:59 AM

What a sucky situation for you all. You know what? trust your instincts. Everything will be fine, whatever that looks like. There's nothing wrong with asking (and receiving) help when you need it. Information is a good thing. Nothing in this scenario will change the way you feel about your kid or the way he feels about you.

Anonymous | 1:34 PM

Reading your story was like reading our story. My son, Joey, had NO words at 2. And I lied to my pediatrician about it. It was only 2 months ago, I finally accepted that we may need help with his speech.
I had to do it for him. He was so frustrated trying to get us to understand things, it broke my heart. And I knew inviting a stranger into my home to teach him something I could not was what was best for Joey.
His speech therapist and I are buddies now. There wasnt any critiquing, there wasnt any judging...She just gave me some things to try with him, and you know what? They are working. Two months ago he had a vocab of about 5-10 words. He has totally doubled that and the words are getting clearer and clearer.
Dont ever let someone tell you what is best for your child. You are the only one who knows.
A word about Autism...
I sat in front of my computer scaring myself with big words and isms. And Autism was one that kept coming up. Joey likes to line up his toys. He likes to be in his own world. He doesnt talk. OMG, he must be autistic.
I didnt have the guts to ask my pediatrician because I was afraid of her answer. My husband asked the speech therapist and she said NO WAY was Joey autistic. She said that if he was autistic he wouldnt have a bond with us. And believe me, the child is bonded. lol What a load off my mind.
Just because your son is a late bloomer, doest mean that he has autism.
I wish you the best of luck!
I'll be checking back to see how he is doing. :)

the mad momma | 1:56 PM

its hard to accept that there is somethign wrong with our prefect children... when my daughter was diagnosed with eczema my world came crashing down. hang in there and i am sure you will come through.. in india we dont have too much to do with doctors and a speech therapist is almost unheard of. most parents just wait till the child is good and ready... i dont know what I would do in your place, but i am sure archer will speak volumes when he is good and ready.. god bless and all the best.. .

shel | 1:59 PM

as scary as it is to think of the "what ifs" now....it beats thinking of the "what ifs" down the line if you were to do nothing.

no matter what, he is archer the invincible. :) he just may need a little extra assistance in the verbage. i'm betting that once he gets started, you'll wonder if he'll ever stop. he's going to have a LOT to say! :)

Kat | 3:47 PM

Let me ask you something...when you enter a room, and Archer's back is to you - and you say something, does he turn to look at you?

My brother took his time at speaking...then, one day he busted out "helicopter." Helicopter - his first word. What the fuck is that?! I hope that tomorrow Archer lets out a equally mind blowing word to calm your fears.

Mom101 | 6:22 PM

No advice. Just that I think you're such a wonderful loving, giving, amazing mother to go so far out of your comfort zone for your child.

I'm thinking of you.

travelin' ma | 7:30 PM

just keep saying it will be ok: it will be ok. As a mom, as a person, sometimes we have to do what we have to do. It will be ok. These sucky situations make us stronger and able to be there for the next one, in your case, for Archer. Thanks for sharing. I hear you, I hear Archer. He's quiet now though I hear him. xo travelin' ma

Angie | 7:48 PM

Have you ever heard of Einstein Syndrome? My daughter has characteristics of the syndrome such as late talking, late potty training (joy), very analytical, excellent memory, good at puzzles, and a family history of analytical/musical people. Check it out. I have information on my website goodforthekids.com if you have more questions. I'm not trying to advertise. I just want to let another mom with a late-talker in on the "secret" of Einstein Syndrome.
Angie :)

Cate | 8:32 PM

I just popped over from Plain Jane. I'm so sorry about what is going on with your son Archer. My son Zander was a bit of a late talker. He did have words when he was about 18months old, but they "went away". When he started trying to talk again...about 21 months...it was basically only the sound of the first letter of the words he was trying to say. He also has problems eating, especially foods with any kind of texture. He is 25 months old, and is still almost exclusively eating pureed foods. It has been suggested that there may be a link to his late speech and his food/texture aversions. He may need what is called "oral therapy"...kind of a hybrid speech therapy.

Now, at 25months, he is just starting to say anything that makes sense...full two-syllable words. It started about 3 weeks ago, and his speech has been making improvements on a daily basis.

I'm not sure if any of this comment helps you....I just needed to say something. I know how it feels to be concerned about something like this. All of my friends children were talking up a storm and my Zander was pretty much silent.


Good luck. I hope Archer follows a path like Zander's and will soon be trying to talk.

Sara | 9:26 PM

Best of luck to you, and peace. I think you are smart to stay away from the websites, but it's good that you will see someone to ease your mind (or help you).
Our daughter didn't walk until she was almost two. And she had this strange scooting thing that she did. Many people pressured us, but we knew she was okay (even though we did break down and go to a physical therapist). Your son is lovely and perfect (and what does that word mean anyway?). There are so many ways to encounter and live in this world -- why do so many think there is a rigid schedule to it all?

Liam's Mom - Gina | 6:40 AM

I am glad you are feeling better about things. Thanks for replying to my email. I wish there was more I could do to help. I think you are fine and Archer really is perfect.

coolbeans | 11:37 AM

Rebecca - I'm sorry you were hurting. I'm thinking of you and Archer.

nabbalicious | 11:38 AM

My stepbrother, Jake, didn't talk until he was three, and then it was complete sentences. Not one word, and then it was a torrent! He is one of the smartest, kindest people I know, too. He's a very talented artist, funny and sweet. Things DO turn out. I'm sorry you're going through this. Hang in there!

Agatha | 12:18 PM

I've no advice... except trust your instincts. If Archer wants to talk, he'll talk... no point 'therapizing' it out of him. Hugs to you xxx

Stefanie | 1:43 PM

Hey Bec,

I have no words either for your post but, hang in there. I have heard of so so so many kids, especially boys, who don't talk at two and don't shut up by three. It will all be fine. Trust that gut of yours. It hasn't failed you yet.

Anonymous | 2:36 PM

Rebecca,
Bless your little Archer....I bet he doesn't have much to say. Period. My daughter was 3 before she spoke anything recognizable (only by Daddy and I knew) She's a lawyer now. My next child, spoke volumes at a year and a half. He's 23 now, never been gainfully employed, lazy as the dickens. Didn't matter much, did it? Hang in there--what they do at 2 or 3 has not bearing on the later years.

Anonymous | 2:38 PM

and this mama didn't check for spelling errors!!! I can talk, I just can't type!!!

the weirdgirl | 4:38 PM

One of my best friends is a preschool teacher. They currently have a few 3-year-olds in their program who still aren't talking (and her own son didn't talk at all until he was three). It's not as uncommon as you'd think.

I think it's not only the websites but sometimes other moms (purposely or not) who make us feel like their is "something wrong" when there isn't. The moms who are so proud their child is already potty-trained, the ones who give you learning videos for your child "just to help" (and I've gotten those). It makes you feel anxious inside and resistant to any help. But don't be afraid to get help if it's needed; those experts can be a godsend. I haven't talked about this on my blog at all (and it's even hard to write here) but one of my brothers has brain-damage. When it comes down to it kids with special needs aren't any less than any other kids, they often just learn differently.

Archer is perfect. Lots of hugs to both of you! - M

PunditMom | 7:34 PM

For different reasons, I think I can relate to how you feel. it's overwhelming to be the mother of a child. And then, when "they" tell you, you should seek some "advice," all the read flags and warning bells go off in your head. And all we want for them is a happy time, a happy childhood.

I will keep my fingers crossed for you and Archer. The told us this week PunditGirl should get more "testing." My gut reaction is the ever-so-polite F.Y. But I don't want to miss something. My head is spinning. Hang in there.

dana | 9:29 AM

My son didn't start talking until he was 21 months old. He was a late bloomer, too. With EVERYTHING. Rolling over, crawling, walking, talking, etc.

I used think this was because he was born early and it's normal not to reach the same milestones as full term babies.

But our pediatrician was up in arms over these things and wanted me to have him checked out.

I took him to a speech therapist who told me everything was normal for his age and based on his developmental history. I was so relieved and now my son never shuts up. I love that he's talking...I think he just needed to break out of his own shell.

I believe Archer is going to be fine. He's a beautifl healthy boy with a wonderful mother.

But I do understand the "what if's". They are hard to swallow. My thoughts are with you and Archer.

Karen Rani | 12:12 PM

I have no advice, but I do know one thing: you were most definitely meant to be his mother. Just look how much you love him!
xoxo
Karen

Mommy off the Record | 1:16 PM

This post was so touching. Your love for Archer is palpable. You are a good mother and you are doing everything right. I will be thinking of you and Archer and hoping for lots of words when he's ready.

Mama Luxe | 9:12 PM

You are right.

He is perfect.

He will always be perfect.

Just like my baby with her heart "defect" is perfect.

I don't know much about talking as the Baby Diva is still just 10 mos...but I do know a good mommy when I "see" one. And you are an excellent mommy.

As long as you don't let it negate your instincts, it is fine to allow a specialist to see him. No matter what you will do what is best and it will be good.

Your blog is so touching and you and your son are beautiful.

Katharine | 8:48 AM

I've been reading your blog since I-can't-remember but I never comment. This is a bit late too, but I've been sick and I'm just catching up.

Is Archer a perfectionist?

I'm not a mama and so I can't give you reassurance based on my own personal experience, but here's what I think: Archer's just listening and biding his time until he knows exactly what he wants to say and how to say it. He's just waiting til he's confident he'll get it right. He's not gonna start with any half-measures - when he starts speaking, i bet he's gonna hit the ground running and never look back!

If you think about it, this boy has a lot to live up to where words are concerned!

lildb | 2:24 PM

I'm probably echoing what the words of the throng as I add mine, like I give a fuck.

I think he's perfect, too. Just like you.

We all are, babe.

*gives Rebecca a big ole hurty squeeze*

Fairly Odd Mother | 8:16 PM

I'm late to the party here, but just wanted to say that there are too many labels and diagnoses out there now. I know it is helpful for some but I fear that kids get labeled with some 'disorder' too often and then carry that label through life.

My third hardly talks as well----he said maybe 2 words at 2---mama and baba (for nursing). He is almost three and has a few more words but almost all of them are impossible to understand by anyone other than me. He is being "evaluated" on Tuesday after much dragging of feet on my part. I'm not sure why I'm doing it other than to know where he 'fits' among his peers. Regardless of their recommendations though, I will probably just continue to talk to, play with and love him and let the words come to him in due time. When a child isn't talking, just think about how much of the world they are absorbing by watching and listening.

Hugs to you. Archer IS perfect.

mo-wo | 11:28 PM

I have a half baked post idea floundering that I don't know I'll ever do. And really it is just a note to you. So why not a comment?

A note to say.. Fuck the blooming tags. My daughter will be 3 in September and she is a talker. Oh man. Shut up already. No don't tell Mommy 'bad choice'. And, look kid that other girl in your gymnastics class can do the hanger-dang-hers way better than you Girl Child. You can't do it all Miss Fancy.

Everything is a conspiracy to push achievement and competition between parents to the lowest possible age. everything.. (but you know that.)

How did our grandmothers do it, right?

There is no age for anything. Individuals are of infinite value and are, as you say, individuals.

HE IS PERFECT.
And, yet. he can't do it all.

Jo | 9:03 PM

I am so hoping for you that it is nothing more than delayed speech. Our Princess didn't start to really talk until she was 2 1/2 and boy, you sure couldn't tell now, she is a huge chatterbox... of course she is 24 but hey, she talked late, really! Best of luck. The autism shadow is a scary one. We have one of those too...

Stephanie T. | 3:49 PM

I've heard many stories of kids who didn't speak a word until age four or five. I'm sure Archer is fine. You're a wonderful mom and your intense love for him comes through so beautifully and clearly in your posts.

Seemeforme | 8:42 PM

Alan was in speech throughout elementary school. I could understand him when nobody else could... not even our parents. It took him a long time to talk... and even longer to talk where others could understand him in the slightest. He's so smart... smarter than I am. Sometimes the kids with the toughest times in their younger years are the ones who grow up to be the best and the brightest. I know Archer is smart. I've seen him. And I also used to work with that age group for years... you can differentiate the smart versus the not-as-smart.

Also, my cousin had a baby a few years ago and everyone in our family was trying to convince my cousin that her daughter was developmentally delayed. She is in kindergarten now and among the brightest in her class. Sometimes it just takes longer for some than others.

Two more stories to add to all the previous ones telling you not to worry! :)

Love you!! ~Lilli

Mama Luxe | 9:35 AM

Just thought of something to add (besides what I said before, that he IS absolutely perfect--which is worth saying again).

I spoke words, but took a very long time to put two or more together. In fact, my mom was ready to take me to a specialist, when all of a sudden I bust out with a full sentence. My mom's theory is like Katherine's--I wanted to make sure I had it right before I said anything.

Another friend of mine had a lot of speech issues but, other than occasionally mixing up some words, you wouldn't know it. She is bright, educated, and a wonderful friend.

Just wanted to put that out there.

Anonymous | 7:37 PM

My son, who is now 3 and a half was also a late bloomer. He wouldn't crawl, didn't walk until much later than his peers... and he didn't talk much either. Now he is a little chatter box, and runs faster than I can catch up. Some kids are just fine with taking their sweet time. At least my son was. He is as laid back as they come.

Don't let a stranger, who doesn't know you or your son convince you of something you don't believe.

Anonymous | 9:48 AM

Clearly, the trouble started when you named your son Archer. Kids who have something wrong with them have names like Archer and Cooper and Thayer. Normal kids are named Mike and John and Pete.
And having a high school education? Not good. You are now on record for all eternity as trailer trash. This will follow Archer through has school days, holding him back from opportunities and landing him in the Vo Tech. All is lost.

grubby scholar | 9:02 PM

this comment comes so late -- after 84 others i doubt you'll read this -- but i had to respond to this post. a mother myself, i, like you, instinctively shy away from the babybook phenomenon and work hard to raise my son on my own. i just want you to know that i know several boys your son's age (one is actually almost three years old) who don't use words yet. their parents hold postgraduate degrees (in english, no less); they don't watch television (which is supposed to delay language skills) and they are both reading-obsessed families. i say stick with what your gut is telling you: he's a late bloomer. Or, even better: he's not late, he's just taking his time.

Valentine | 9:58 AM

I stumbled across your blog by accident, while doing what none of us wants to do - torturing ourselves doing Google searches of autism symptoms. Movie credits...spinning things...no talking...turning lights on and off...what does it all mean for my little 28-month-old Nugget? Just reading about you and Archer made me feel better. Nugget's been in speech therapy for a few months now, and it seems to have helped with concentration and attention span - he's even picked up a few new words, but no combined phrases yet. Like you, we'll wait and see, but will also love continue to love him unconditionally. I don't really know how people who don't live with my boy can try to diagnose him, anyway. Thanks for posting this - I've bookmarked ya!