My youngest son WAS a handful.
I was shocked. I didn’t experience this with my first 2 children. What is happening here?
Early on, I was concerned because he wasn’t talking yet at 14 months. I know that children develop at different paces but I worried despite everyone’s assurances (my Pedia included) that it was nothing to worry about.
At 18 months I took him to a developmental doctor and he was diagnosed with a SLIGHT speech delay. The doctor assured me that at this point it was still nothing to worry about.
However, by that time I noticed that every tantrum followed a specific format. He would babble, and then his little face would scrunch up and he would babble again. Then finally, he would begin screaming. After a while, I noticed he would just scream… Much to our despair as parents.
I believed with all my heart that he was feeling frustration at not being understood.
So despite all the assurances, I decided to just bring him to therapy. He started therapy at around 20 months and that was the BEST decision I have done.
Notice that I used the past tense throughout my story? It’s because my youngest, after a few months of therapy, has progressed in leaps and bounds.
Barely two weeks after therapy there was already a palpable difference in his behavior. He would now try to speak once more and use actions to try to get what he wanted. The frequency of his tantrums gradually decreased.
We found out that he understands more than we thought he could and his problem was more a muscle weakness than inability to comprehend… Hence the frustration.
The therapist was able to guide us on what we needed to do to help him strengthen his muscles. We also needed to consciously push him to use his words and dissuade tantrums.
Now that it has been a couple of months, my son has progressed to complete sentences. He is very interactive already with his siblings and is able to sing his favorite songs. He still displays a very strong and impatient personality but he has become much calmer. Although his speech is still not clear, a few months after he can be understood and his tantrums became few and far in between.
My youngest son IS a joy. Every day he hugs me and tells me he loves me which is the sweetest words I could ever hear.
He loves to play and dance with his siblings. He is now capable of waiting for his turn to play with toys. He can count to 20 by himself and is able to “converse” in his own little way. He is visibly happier and is blooming in his newfound power.
Doing early intervention and putting him in therapy is the best investment I have ever made as a parent. I am so glad I didn’t wait it out. I can’t imagine how much more frustrated he would be if I had decided to wait.
Sometimes babies scream not because they are colic or a just naturally a “screamer”. It is so easy to label a child as “difficult” and leave it at that.
However, it is worth the time and effort to find out why because the fix could possibly be ridiculously easy to do… Which was thankfully true in my case.
A special shoutout of Thanks to Teacher Jinkee and my son’s playschool, specifically playgroup teacher Jenny. Words cannot express my gratitude for your help.
More thanks are in order (extra patient older siblings, supportive husband, a baby who loves me so much and is happy just to be with me, and friends who helped keep me sane) but that’s a different post altogether.