Sunday, November 1, 2009


I often feel that parenting Charlie is a lot like those games they used to have at Chuck E. Cheese. You've got a mallet in your hand and you're supposed to hit some little critter--maybe a gopher?--as it pops out of the ground. As soon as you've bopped one into submission, another appears. Bop that one, and there's another waiting. With Charlie it seems like that. In the beginning it was eating and head control. After that it's sitting and solid foods. On and on it goes with specialists, therapists, and parenting books constantly presenting you with another worry or goal.
These last couple of weeks I've really had to face the fact that Charlie isn't talking and it's time to do something about it.

I feel fairly certain that this will not be an easy activity. You see, Charlie has pretty much no interested in communicating anything other than happiness or displeasure. As far as he's concerned, those two emotions are enough to get most of his needs met.

We've taught him a few signs--he could actually sign "more" before his first birthday--but he doesn't like you use them. We're starting to push. Our goal is to add a new sign to each week until we've got most of the basics down. Last week we worked on cup. This week I'd like to work on "movie," but that's more complicated, so I'm not sure how it will do.

It's just hard for me to accept that this isn't something that he wants to work on. I think I'm OK with the idea that he may not speak--the idea that he doesn't want to is hard. It's hard for me to accept the amount of work I'm going to have to put into it. It's hard for me to accept that he may be five or six years old before he has a good way of communicating with me--or longer. Even worse is that he doesn't seem interested in communicating.

So I've been grieving a little bit. Wondering if I'm doing enough or doing the right things to help him. Wondering if I'm holding him back. Wondering if there's something I haven't tried.

But I'm also doing the only thing I know how--making a plan. That's the only way I ever get over this stuff--focus on the stuff I can control.