The power of ten


Last week

Now that their speech delays are less delayed, they will often ask questions, which is a monumental leap forward for everyone.

Their willingness to try and communicate with words, is still hard work for them. As parents, we have to make their attempts at communication successful. The theory goes, that the more success they achieve, the more willing they will be to keep going or give it another try.

Both my boys have a tendency to ask very precise questions for which they require specific and instant answers. Failure by the parent, frequently results in a meltdown in the child. If you are a child and you have a speech delay, talking, or using your words, is hard work. On the whole it is usually much easier for you to get what you want by skipping the words stage and screaming instead. You will find that if you scream a lot, your parent is likely to be much more efficient and far speedier at fulfilling your request. Works like magic every time, let me assure you.

The stumbling block for me, is whilst this progress is all fine and dandy, it's very difficult to make their experience successful if they leave out pertinent details, or reference back. Their questions come out of the blue with no clues attached.

In an ideal world, I'd like to change things. I would prefer to confine question time to a specific period of the day, where I would be more than happy to field all enquiries. That time, would be a time of my choosing. A convenient time, preferably one where I am already awake, when my brain is fully functioning and my power pack of patience is full.

I do not live in an ideal world.

Early in the morning my son appears before me in his pyjamas that are several sizes too small.
“Is it ten?” he asks with an anxious expression.
“Is what ten dear?”
“Ten yet?” I look at him and think hard. Is he waiting for ten o'clock? What, if anything, could or should be happening at that time? I think of the tick down chart that shows them how many more days of summer holidays they have left. We check it every day so that the first day of school doesn't come as a surprise of nightmare proportions. But that's still 6 days away. I think of other numbers that might be relevant, that he might have mixed up? None of the daily timers have been set yet. They advise them all of the high points of the day, like snack time and electronics time. Is this a reference back to growing older and his fear of reaching double digits? Ten. It is no-one favourite number around here. I dither. Is it to do with something recent or the ancient past if not ancient history?

I don't want to provoke a meltdown this early in the morning, as I am not mentally prepared at 5:50 a.m. A meltdown first thing in the morning is a pre-cursor to a bad day, a very long bad day. If I keep him waiting too long he'll have a meltdown anyway. I have nothing to lose by asking a return question, as I'm already out of the limited time allowance permitted at this stage of their development.

“Ten what dear?” He holds up his hands, palms towards my face, instead of using any words.
“Ten fingers?” I ask pathetically. His head slumps to his chest in exasperation. Stand by, here it comes, I've blown it, he's out of patience. He sighs wearily and then his body starts his little gallopy hopping dance, which means that his brain is processing and he's gathering speed and words are forming a sentence which very soon, he may be able to utter…….. ”No, I mean…… it ten days…….for my finger……to take the “stitches out?”

Well I’m glad that one of us is with it.
Boy 1, mother 0.

And in my other “life.”

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