Oh how I have struggled to write this post, these words have been inside of me for a while now. I have not been sure quite how to say it out loud or even where, to begin with, it all. Recent events, however, have made me want to talk about it. This post is about Dylan, the second baby in our lives. I guess I have not blogged about him since he was a baby and then making that transition into becoming a toddler. Unlike the first time around where I got to blog about Oli’s first year pretty much as it happened, time is more limited now what with 3 of them, five if you include the dog and the man to look after.
Dylan becoming a toddler pretty much happened while I was pregnant, I remember him being a baby as we found out, I remember that last breastfed when he was cuddled up in my arms in his nursery. Then I had Charlotte, and he was a toddler, I was breastfeeding a new baby in his nursery, and he was now a two-year-old starting Nursery in that September. It all went by in a blur, the last six years of parenthood from falling pregnant with Oli to being where I am now with three children has been one blur. One amazingly happy blur but one who has left me questioning exactly where that time went.
I’ve never compared you to other children; I never did that with your older brother. I’m a huge believer that every child is different, and that parenting books should be burned. A milestone such as rolling over and walking are not competitions in my eyes between competitive parents; they are moments which celebrated because of how amazing they are, they are a sign that you are growing up. But even without these milestones, children are still growing, even if the milestones happen at a different time to other children or to what your health visitor or little red book says. You have been growing our darling Dylan, hitting those milestones such as rolling over, crawling, walking, running and even giving us your first words. It’s now that your 27 months that has people questioning those current milestones you should be hitting.
I have tried my best not to question them myself. You are only two after all with plenty of time ahead of you to develop and ‘catch up’ on these milestones. But even if I don’t ask these questions, other people do, and they ask these questions out loud. They ask me these questions, they ask for my thoughts and what I think is going on as if I know the answers. Well, what is going on?
You don’t talk. We have got so used to it now that we don’t question it, will assume that you will do it in your own time as your bother did. He was saying some words at two but they were not clear, and it took until he turned 5 for these words to become clear and we have days where we struggle to understand him. I say you don’t talk, but you count, you know your numbers up to 7, and you will often count them out loud when you see numbers, to me this is amazing, and it means that you are not completely mute. We hear them on a daily basis. Since I started drafting this, you have taken to saying ‘Dada’ occasionally. You will scream when you are excited and frustrated, but mostly in excitement. I watched you as you stood in the ball pit at your friends birthday party the other weekend and you screamed in excitement. Yesterday though I had to stop you, you were frightening your baby sister.
If it were this alone just the non-communication, then I would be telling those who ask questions where to go but as it isn’t just that it’s time to start exploring what may be going on. Your nursery report has finally thrown me into standing up to what is going on, accepting it, stop blaming myself and get help. Seeing that report, seeing what I already knew in black and white on that piece of paper was hard-hitting. It rocked our world last week, we have been going through the emotions, and I guess it’s finally prompted me to say things out loud, to write this post and to seek our people who understand.
You will not give eye contact to anyone or respond to your name; this has been difficult at home, but like I said we used to you now, we are used to this. We adapt as a family to this, but now you are going to nursery and are no longer in my full-time supervision, other people notice this, other people know this isn’t right.
You are not aware of other people, especially the child your age. You have the most amazing group of toddler friends, they are all rather understanding of you and let you get on with your own thing. My heart does pang when I see them all playing together and chatting to one another while you sit in the corner twirling your hair. I see the way you don’t notice them; I see how you walk into them as if they are not there and I know is one of my biggest concerns. I don’t know if anyone else has noticed, you are not a violent boy, I know you don’t do this on purpose. I have opened up more recently to their mums about my concerns, they are understanding and have been someone other than your Daddy to talk to about all this.
Parties are one place where I notice the difference, as other kids all sit down to play pass the parcel you will be in the opposite direction. Your brother was the same. I got sad for never being able to experience this with one of my children, but then I instantly felt guilty for feeling that way.
We took you to the sealife centre the other weekend; I thought you would be in your element as you adore going to the pet shop to see the fish, you would stand there staring at them for hours if I let you. But you were overwhelmed, you weren’t sure of the characters, and you didn’t want to look at any of the fish, but the one thing you did like were the lights on the floor. We went to pizza hut afterwards where you didn’t want pizza but stood up eating cucumber and tacos; you didn’t want to sit down.
We can get you sitting down at home as long as we out the right food in front of you, you are all over the place with your food where some days you will eat something but then some days won’t. I like to think this is typical toddler behaviour nothing else. You do love eating your fruit, and of course, you have mummy’s sweet tooth when it comes to cakes and puddings.
Oh, darling, you are so special to us. You are our baby boy, and you have such a fantastic personality despite what is going on. You laugh as I feed your sister her food, you love going on your daddy’s back, you adore being carried in our baby carrier, and the park is the most amazing place in the world to you with the slide being your favourite. You like to sit with your books, and our house is starting to resemble a library because of you and your big brother’s love of them. Every time I eat pasta you insist on being the one to feed it to me by using my fork to pick it up and put it in my mouth. Your favourite TV programmes are The Lingo Show & Numtums but of course, you love Peppa Pig, this is such a typical toddler thing, and it makes me smile. You are obsessed with the iPad, and we allow you time on this, we particularly find this our go to in times of needs like when out and about. Your favourite apps are the LEGO ones. You like to build up your number cups but then knock them down straight afterwards, annoying for your big brother as you knock his down and we try to hide our giggles. You have recently discovered mud, and we have a mud patch in our garden at the moment, and we can’t clear it just yet as we see how much delight you get from putting on your wellies and taking your garden tools out to play in it. These are things which make
You like to build up your number cups but then knock them down straight afterwards, annoying for your big brother as you knock his down and we try to hide our giggles. You have recently discovered mud, and we have a mud patch in our garden at the moment, and we can’t clear it just yet as we see how much delight you get from putting on your wellies and taking your garden tools out to play in it. These are things which make you-you, and we wouldn’t change any of this.
What I do know Dylan is that we will not define you by what you cannot do, but what you can do, no matter what happens now over the next few months I will remind people of the above, of what you can do.
I’m going to label this post as SEN, the same place I’ve put your brother’s posts as I blog about his development as we seek help to our unanswered questions about him. Maybe over time this label may change, he’s hoping we can remove it all together but for now, having a label helps us to understand more. Our next stage is a meeting with the Health Visitor, here’s hoping we get better answers for you then what we ever did with your brother. When your brother turned 5, they no longer wanted to know about him as he was the school’s problem. I will fight harder for this not to happen to you.