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.