My littlest boog came into the world screaming, and for the next 3 months of his life he did not stop…..then something changed. I watched as friends children starting babbling, chatting and talking, my boog made sounds, noise, a lot of noise, but those words did not come. His frustration grew, as did his temper, and mine followed in check.
It was when Liam turned 3, that I had to sit down and do some soul searching…….he wasn’t lazy, his sister wasn’t doing the speaking for him…..he couldn’t talk, he could make noise, but could not speak. I spoke with our Doctor regarding my smallest boog, and we were sent off for hearing tests, speech assessments, ENT’s the whole enchilada, to find the the root cause of his problem….so started a roller coaster ride of emotion, questions, anger, and finally answers.
Liam’s hearing was fine, the speech assessment (which I found to be ridiculous, as he could not talk) proved to be very frustrating, as when shown flash cards and pointing out what he knew, the therapist, the “professional” took me aside, and informed me that Liam was severely developmentally delayed. As a mother, the words were very hard to hear….I left the hospital, deflated, her words ringing through my ears. I remember speaking with Michael about the “diagnosis”….he was furious. We talked and talked, and realized that not knowing the difference between “in front” and “behind” did not dictate such a diagnosis….we would wait for the ENT appointment, and keep working with our little boog ourselves.
We met with the ENT, finally some good news, Liam’s adenoids and tonsils were so large that he could not form a sound properly…..the Doctor agreed to remove his adenoids, but would not remove the tonsils…apparently because there was no infection in them, it was better to keep them and not be able to speak than risk the future “possible case scenarios”……bravo once again “professional”…..you know your book knowledge, but have no idea the frustration and alienation my little boog was living with on a daily basis.
Adenoids removed, subtle improvement….none that an individual would immediately notice, but one that I as a parent could see….progress. Our little boog was making progress, but his frustration still remained. He watched as other children played together, and he was excluded because he was different. I watched as the tears welled up in his eyes….the tears welled up in my eyes, as I sat him on yet another time out because of the frustration. I watched him cry and yell, because of a situation he could not control…I would not let him see my tears of heartbreak for him, that was saved for alone time. I heard the “quiet whispers” of the other parents, of friends, and even of myself. Yes, my son was different, but that never made him less worthy of the love and simple human kindness of others. It is our differences that make us wonderful, and I wanted people to understand this; but unfortunately “different” was seen as strange and bizarre (an insight as to part of the reason the society we live in is so messed up). We worked with Liam, and worked. I wasn’t allowing any of the so called “professionals” back into my sons life again. He was my son, and knowing him better than a “professional” did, we worked on the basics, things that worked for him, things that helped him….and help they did.
At age 3 3/4, boog #2 had his tonsils removed, he was a champ!! I heard him wake in the morning following his surgery and come out of his room…..he greeted me with “HI MUM!”…..clear as day!! The tears started running down my face uncontrollably….hi mum…..two words that most parents had been hearing on a daily basis for a couple of years, two little words I had longed to hear…..two little words that changed my life and boog #2’s. The world was his oyster and he was ready to crack it open and dive in!
Learning…..this is what drove my littlest one. He loved preschool….he couldn’t learn enough, Kindergarten, even more fun, grade one…..full blown student, couldn’t be better!! He was different, yet again,… he thrived on education, he thrived on knowledge, he didn’t care about sports, about getting dirty, he didn’t want to play “soldier” like daddy, why would he? He was Liam, and part of being Liam was a quest for knowledge for new things…he wanted to learn. What he learned, at an early age, was that being different equated to being bullied, and teased, being bullied for being himself. In retrospect I am thankful that all this nonsense occurred at an early age, for having seen and experienced this, my boog learned who he was, what he was willing to put up with, and what made him exceptional early on, and we stood by him 100 percent.
Little boog discovered karate when he was seven and immediately fell in love with something other than learning, as parents we couldn’t be more pleased. Boog #2 is cursed with my joints and flexibility, so “normal” boy sports were not of any interest to him…..he was gangly and somewhat akward…but through karate, he found control of his body and mind….he basked in the physical and mental aspects that karate taught him…he loved it, he studied it, ahhh yes, the sport and the meaning behind the sport.
Nine years into boogs life, he has figured out most of us adults still struggle with…..who he is. He dances to the beat of his own drum, and doesn’t give a hoot who questions what makes him tick. He is different, he is a genius (not just mum’s opinion, but the results of testing) he is intense, he is focused, he knows what he wants and does it…. he is a 60 year old man in a nine year olds body. His mind works in ways that most adults don’t….and he has figured out that his differences are what make him absolutely OUTSTANDING!!
The “professionals” were correct about one thing regarding my boog #2, he does have a tongue thrust, so we still work on certain sound combinations…..but, besides that, they were wrong….absolutely, completely and utterly wrong. I am happy, that we as parents didn’t buy into the “professionals”, I am happy that we fought for our child and continue too, as society still doesn’t know what to do with children who are different, and I am happy that all the negatives that Liam experienced in his early years, happened to a hyper intelligent child; a child who was able to process a lot of what some adults can not, and it has made him a better little person.
I admire my little warrior……he is strong, independent and most of all unique. He has been judged by children and adults alike, and walks away proud of who he is and his abilities. He has fought against an, at times, very cruel society, but has never given up. He knows he is special, but has a humility about him, he knows he is smart, but is willing to lend a hand to whoever needs helps, he is talented, and wants to share that talent with the world. He has been laughed at and teased, but still wants to give back…..to share, to help, to care. I often wish I was more like my boog, able to let the world slide off my shoulders and look to the next amazing adventure in life, be proud of who I am without fear of repercussion. I wish I could figure out how at the age of nine, he has seemed to master much of what a lot of adults fight with…but he is much smarter than I am and always has been….maybe one day he will let me in on his secret, maybe one day he will share it with all of us…..and what a day that will be!!!
This photo is from the Atlantic Canada karate tournament last weekend……the “different” boy placed sixth among competitors from 5 provinces…..weird, sissy, and other adjectives to disgusting to repeat………I don’t think so, BRILLIANT, AMAZING AND INSPIRING, a definite YES!!! “UUUUUUUUUUUUPPPPPPPPPP!”