Just tell me what you want!


I know it’s a long term kind of dream, but all I want is for Roman to be able to tell me what he wants.  I just spent a half hour rocking him after he woke up from a late nap, crying.  He at least whined through the whole thing, if not all out wailing.  I held him close, which seems to calm him sometimes.  I rubbed his feet, which usually soothes him.  Nothing in my bag of tricks was working.

It’s nights like tonight that I start feeling like a bad parent.  I can’t give my child what he needs.  It would help if he could tell me what that was, but all I get is cries.  A lot of what Roman does is on par with his age, but his speech is more akin to a 9 to 12 month old.  Parenting him for the past two years has been like having a perpetual one year old that keeps on developing physically but not verbally.

Of course, Roman knows more than the typical one year old, and possibly more than the typical three year old.  He knows his letters and numbers.  He just can’t say them.  If you ask him to point to, say, the letter Q, he’ll do it (if it strikes his fancy).  He’ll do that to most of the alphabet and numbers to five.  No, Roman is not delayed mentally at all.  Which, actually, has to be frustrating for him.  He feels and knows things that are typical for a three year old.  He just can’t express his thoughts into words yet.  They’re all trapped up there in his burgeoning brain with no outlet.

From my perspective, though, it’s hard to remember that.  All I can do is read his non-verbal cues and guess what he wants.  Sure, we have PECS, which helps, but there’s only so much that can be communicated through his PECS book.  I’m sure that we’ll move on to things like “I want a hug” or “I need my blanket and pillow,” but for now, we’re mostly relegated to food and toy requests.  It’s better than nothing, but far from a perfect solution.  The only thing that’s going to fix this frustration, for both of us, is words and the ability to use them to express needs.

After the crying tonight, I’m burnt out. With Roman and his brother and sister to care for, I don’t have the luxury of being burnt out, though.  I just have to keep on trudging through.

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4 Responses to Just tell me what you want!

  1. Big Daddy says:

    Every journey is different but, I remember going through the same thing about ten years ago. Now I can’t get my son to stop telling me what he wants.

  2. Lynn says:

    I know…it’s so frustrating. My daughter has definitely improved a lot since she was 3, but it can still be difficult for her to articulate even when she has the words. Hopefully we will both have Big Daddy’s experience and won’t be able to get them to shut up in a few years!

  3. Nancy says:

    I feel for you and understand completely what you are going through. Dan will be 15 next month and I’m still hoping some day to have a conversation with him but my fear is that if we ever do he will have a laundry list of complaints how I just didn’t get it back in the day how he needed _____, _____ & _______. Until then let’s continue to pray our kids get the essential tools to master the art of communication.

  4. Lisa says:

    HUGS. HUGS. And MORE HUGS. I cry for you. I know that Zachary has articulated to me before that he HATES it and himself when his brain won’t do what he wants and is trying to tell it to do. I’m sure that Roman is as frustrated as Zachary for not being able to articulate his needs….I’m hoping beyond all hope that this trial works miracles.

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