Looking back, I always new Cooper was speech delayed, but I never knew he had delays in other areas. He never babbled like a typical child so I wasn’t surprised (devastated for sure) when we started the speech therapy route. Even now, his babbling is extremely different from Sawyers.
I will admit that I always lumped ALL of Cooper’s delays into one category…SPEECH. And that was wrong of me. But in my defense, Cooper met all of his physical milestones (up until jumping) right on time. He held his head up, rolled over, crawled and walked all right on time. Also, he was a huge, strong baby. 9 lbs at birth and 25 lbs at 6 months. (Yes, you read that right.) He always made eye contact. He always hugged and kissed and was social.
For example, I thought, (and still sorta think), that Cooper’s ability to play with other children is strained because he doesn’t talk. His social skills could NEVER be at his age level because he doesn’t talk. Or, how well can you really express yourself without speaking.
But, I should have known more was wrong. I tend to beat myself up a little bit about it but I have to remind myself that we are doing everything we can. Find out your child has one delay is crushing. Multiple is unbearable at times. And now as I watch Sawyer reach these milestones my heart has mixed emotions. It hurts so much to see Sawyer do things with ease while Cooper struggles at everything. And I NEED to know if it will ALWAYS be this way?
As I sit here watching my two boys together it makes me think of the ‘red flags’ that I should have seen. I should have known. Now, trust me, I know every child is different and reach milestones at different times but still….
- Saying ‘Uh-Oh.’ Even if it doesn’t sound like ‘uh-oh’. Maybe it’s just a sound to show that something happened. I think that is a big step in communication because it is alerting someone else that something has happened.
- Lack of consonants in his sounds. Or even, lack of variety in his sounds. Cooper only says vowels and always has. This should have been huge for me but I think since Cooper made so ‘much’ sound that I didn’t notice. He still doesn’t make ‘other’ sounds. Like clucking or rolling his tongue.
- Not having a word for anything. Cooper may or may not have Apraxia. I get that. But shouldn’t he still have a ‘word’ for things. Like mom or puppy? Or ball or Thomas? So maybe it doesn’t sound like it’s supposed to but shouldn’t there still be a consistent sound? So maybe mama would be ah-ah or whatever?
- Imitating. This one is HUGE. Cooper never imitates sounds or language. But he also only recently started imitating actions. Around 8 months, Sawyer started picking up remotes or toys and holding them up to his ear like a phone. He would also say a sound, like hello, as he spoke into the phone. SO DANG CUTE! There is this commercial on PBS that shows a dad brushing his teeth and his son wanting to brush his teeth too.
- Climbing. Cooper never climbed. Ever. (Except out of his crib right when he turned 2.) It wasn’t that he was afraid of it. It just never occurred to him. Sawyer recently started standing on a rocking chair and treating it like a surfboard. Mind you this kid doesn’t even walk yet! Cooper started climbing in the last 3 weeks and is now part monkey. He has learned that he can push a laundry basket over to a dresser and get what he wants off the top. Usually a remote or an iphone. Smart.
- Not needing to baby proof my house. I can count on one hand the amount of times that Cooper has taken stuff out of a drawer in my kitchen or bathroom. Sawyer is the opposite. He can destroy a room in under 30 seconds. Every single item is taken out of the cupboard. Every band aid and tampon comes out of the box, toilet paper comes off the roll, etc.
- Hand strength. Cooper is still unable to do the hand gestures to different songs and also differentiating between hand signs. Cooper has always LOVED singing songs like Itsy Bitsy Spider and Patty Cake. But I noticed right away that he couldn’t do the rolling or patting. And later, closer to 3, his rolling was way off. And then we started signing. He could never differentiate between signing cooking or ball because they are too similar.
- Having nothing to tell the doctor at Well Child Visits. This one is really, really hard for me to type and I only recently told Jamie about it. I felt too bad about it I guess. I remember going to Cooper’s Well Child Visits and having nothing positive to say. His pediatrician was always like, ‘so, tell me all about Mr. Cooper. What is he doing?’ I remember staring at her and thinking ‘crying…not sleeping…Whining.’ And don’t even get me started on those questionnaires that needed to be filled out. Now, when I go with Sawyer it is completely opposite.
So, on a positive note, Cooper officially knows all of his colors! We have been working on it for a while now so I am super excited. We can even ask him questions like, ‘what color is our puppy Bauer?’ and he will grab the brown flashcard. I am so proud of this. I took a video and I am going to try and upload it later!