There are days when I wish more than anything that my son could talk. He is 10 years old and is non-verbal. I know I’m not alone in wishing this. A lot of Mamas and Papas out there have never heard their child utter a single syllable. Some of us have heard our children speak paragraphs, only to have their speech disappear completely, as if someone stole it from them. Today, I’m going to go out on a limb and say there are good reasons for wishing my son could speak, but there are some other reasons for being glad that he can’t. I’m choosing to look on the bright side here. And some of this is completely tongue-in-cheek, so please don’t berate me in the comments. Or do. We love getting comments.
1. Even when he’s mad at me he can’t tell me off. This means when I have to take him for his flu shot, he can’t give me attitude and yell obscenities at me. He just cries, and I feel bad for having taken him, but not so bad that I wouldn’t do it again next year if it means he won’t get the flu.
2. When he’s a teenager I won’t hear him lie about missing curfew. Since he won’t be dating this is a moot point, but it’s something to be happy about. Silver lining, and all of that. Maybe when he’s older we’ll go through this, but not anytime soon. That’s a plus.
3. I never get a smart-mouth answer from him when I ask him a question. It’s always a yes or no (mostly a head nod or a button pushed on his communication board). And never do I get an eye roll. Those come courtesy of his little sister.
4. I can talk about how upset I am about a situation, or vent and let off a little steam. He just looks at me and listens. He will sometimes laugh, and I wonder if he’s really understanding every nuance of the one-sided conversation, or if he thinks I’m funny when I talk to myself. It’s every girl’s dream to have a man listen to her and not try to fix it.
5. I can say whatever I want in front of him and it’s never repeated. I’m never embarrassed for having said something I shouldn’t have and then have it repeated in front of anyone. And, he has never commented on how unbrushed a woman’s hair is in front of said woman, unlike my daughter.
6. His eyes are more expressive than any other person I know. For a kid that’s non-verbal, he sure get’s his point across with his expressions and the tone of his voice, and occasionally, his communication board. This is never more true than when I have sung every song I know and he is still demanding more songs. The boy loves music!
7. He’s more loving than any kid I know who is 10 years old. He is all about loving and hugging on people he knows. Jamie is a great judge of character. There are certain people he is just enamored with and those people are always good people. They have good hearts, and on some level, Jamie’s heart recognizes that.
8. Because he’s not saying actual words, just making sounds, occasionally I’ll hear something that sounds like a word. For instance, he sometimes will say, “Mom” or “yum” in an appropriate setting. I take those little words and lock them in my heart and my mind to pull out and replay when I need encouragement. It’s like Jamie’s own little play list. Sometimes, I’ll tell him I love him and he’ll respond with, “of”. Clearly, he’s saying, “I love you, too, Mom.”
9. I think because he’s non-verbal, he’s a better listener than most people. He’s not thinking of his reply, he’s only hearing what you’re saying at that particular moment. At least, I think that’s what he’s thinking.
10. Because Jamie has been to so many therapies over the years, and the last 6 years his sister has tagged along to almost all of them, she is so well-spoken it’s amazing. She was speaking in full sentences by age 2 and enunciating like nobody’s business. She had speech therapy along with Jamie, and OT, and PT. Her ability to speak so well and do so many things so well is Jamie’s gift to her. In return, she “speaks” for him. She tries to interpret what he’s saying and what he needs. She’s his little Mama. They have a special bond and for that, I’m truly thankful.
So, these are some of the reasons I’m sometimes glad that Jamie is non-verbal. Now, those of you who know me know that this is just me looking at the silver lining. Of course, I wish my son could talk and tell me what’s going on in his brain; what he’s thinking, what he’s feeling. Is he hurting, sleepy, cranky, getting sick? I often wonder what would be the first thing he would say if he could speak. Those of you who know Jamie would say he would tell me he’s hungry. And you’re probably right. The boy does love to eat! I wonder if he would tell me I’m doing a good job or if there’s something he needs that I’m not providing?
On this Wishful Wednesday, I say, “Of” to all of you, and you’ll know that means, “I love you” in Jamie-speak. Ready to comment on this post? Go!