Posted by GIRL'S GONE CHILD | Monday, June 11, 2007
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.
"Not any? Six months ago you said he had a few words."
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.
cross-posted at straight from the bottle