Yesterday morning, Molly had an evaluation to see if her speech is on target for her age. Here in Michigan we have a program called "Early On" which provides services, free of charge, in the home, for kids with developmental delays of all types. They come out to your house to evaluate your child and either a) get them services, or b) tell you that you are a crazy person and your baby is fine and dandy. Needless to say, I was hoping for the latter.
These past few months, I have been trying to explain away Molly's lack of speech as her stubborn nature or her status as a second rate citizen, ahem, excuse me, second child, but deep down, I knew that she was falling behind. The grunting and "EH-huh" was cute for a while, but both she and I are getting frustrated that she can't tell me what she wants. Correction, can't tell me what she wants without shouting and rolling on the floor in anger.
A nurse and an occupational therapist spent about an hour evaluating her skills in different areas and concluded that she does, in fact, have an expressive speech delay. Her expressive language is about four months behind and is at the level of a thirteen-month-old. Interestingly, her motor skills are more on par with a 24-month-old. They tried to reassure me that perhaps her brain is focusing on motor skills right now and neglecting the language portion of her development (though her receptive language is on target). But they did validate the fact that I am not a crazy person. Although I knew that already when I looked at Frankie's baby book and saw the HUGE list of words and signs that she had at this age. Molly qualifies for speech therapy twice a month. The therapist will come to our house and help formulate a plan and give us some pointers on how to encourage her language development. All the suggestions they had so far were things we are already doing, but it just gave me an extra kick in the pants to really work with her.
Of course, in our achievement oriented family, this comes as a bit of a blow. I'm worried and guilty and thinking about whether my diet of Wheat Thins and chocolate peanut butter ice cream while I was pregnant deprived her brain cells of much needed nourishment. Or maybe it was all the times I saw her playing in the corner by herself and thought, SWEET, I can Google some more coupon blogs, instead of hovering next to her and inundating her with picture books. I wish I could take back some of the countless hours Frankie got of our undivided attention and spread the love a little.
I know it is only a four month delay. And I know she is a smart little cookie. But even if she wasn't or isn't or won't be, I need to remind myself of what's important. I want her to know and love Jesus Christ as her Savior. Period. Articulate, mute, tall, short, big vocabulary or small, it all loses significance entirely in light of that one criteria. It's the very best thing I can hope for her.