I took a deep breath and dialed the number. One, two, three rings and then, “Hello, you’ve reached First Steps, Kentucky’s Early Intervention Program.”
I tried to do it right. I chose to stay home with them. I read to them every day. I waited to introduce television. I got down on their level and spoke with them constantly. I kept waiting for things to change. But nothing has. As they inch closer to 19 months of age, my babies are still without language of any kind.
I haven’t told anyone this because, well, I’m ashamed. As their primary caregiver, I feel responsible for their deficits. Although I can rationalize all day that this is sheer nonsense, I can’t shake the guilt. Not only that, but admitting that they are behind makes it real. Makes it hurt.
When we set out on the adventure of parenthood, our dreams for our children involved them being exceptional or, at the very least, typical. Before our babies were even conceived, my husband and I talked about what they might be like. Would they have blue eyes or brown? What color would their hair be? Would they love sports like their daddy or music like their mommy? The list of hopes and dreams was limitless.
Now that they are here with their brown hair and their greenish-blue eyes, those hopes are still present, but guarded. When you love someone as fiercely as a parent loves a child, fear is always lurking on the fringes of your dreams. The vulnerability of parenthood is oppressive.
As I scheduled the evaluation with the Early Intervention specialist, I could feel the worry in my voice. If something is wrong, we may have to adjust our visions of the future to accommodate. And while I’m perfectly all right with doing that, a mental shift of that magnitude always takes an emotional toll.
I constantly hear stories about children who spoke late and were just fine. I’m certainly hoping that is our situation. However, it would be remiss to ignore the problem any longer. If they need help, we will get it. If not, I will learn to be patient. At this point, I am just trying to manage my expectations.
This parenting gig is tough. To care about another human being far more than you ever cared about yourself is emotionally draining. There is always something. From watching their heart monitors in the NICU to anxiously awaiting their first words, I have been in a constant state of concern since the day they were born. I suppose that will never change. I know my parents still worry about me. More than they should. But I get it now. And I am thankful to be loved so very much.
Hello, there! I’m Krysta. If you’re new to The Thoughtful Mom, welcome! And thank you for stopping by.
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