It’s personal…so I can only tell utter and complete strangers, if that makes sense.

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Photo Credit: Bornpowerful.com

***Anyone that follows my blog-or even catches one from time to time-knows by now that I am honest to a verging-on-unpopular-fault when it comes to the challenges I and my family have been facing recently concerning my son and his development. So with this post be warned, I am going to be just as honest and my thoughts may not be well received. But they are how I feel and I did warn you ahead of time.***

While I was driving home today from therapy I was attempting to mentally write my next blog post. Am I the only one that does that? Let me just start out by saying that this blog has been nothing short of a saving grace for me recently. With my overall lack of socializing and my husband being so resistant to discussing Jp’s issues, this has become a welcome place of expressing myself in a healthy way. A place to vent, to talk to others who have similar issues with their children and even just receive love and support from fellow moms. It has saved me from living in my head and dwelling. Which I tend to do when there is something weighing on my mind.

So today, radio blaring because Jp loves the beat in the backseat (he prefers Mumford and Sons, go figure), a thought occurred to me out of the blue. Out of nowhere I realized something peculiar with crystal clarity.

I haven’t told any of my friends about what has been going on with Jp. Not one.

I have talked to immediate family (which is only two people and I left it up to them whether or not they wanted to discuss it with their spouses) as there was Thanksgiving and Christmas and the fact that he was obviously behind was something that I felt the need to explain for whatever reason. But not a single, solitary one of our friends. I haven’t made one reference to therapy or speech on my Facebook. I haven’t had a play date with the ladies in awhile, either. We are the couple that has everyone over for everything. Barbecues, sporting events, holiday parties…everything. We have had one couple over for a football game in the last three months and I didn’t say one word. I did spend a portion of the evening evaluating her daughter’s speech to see just how far Jp was behind though. (Told you it was unpopular thinking)

I just realized, though wholly unintentionally, that I have been hiding.

Hiding because I didn’t know what to say. If I should say anything, if I should explain his delay, what I would say about it since we know so little. All I know is that he had a speech delay. Now it’s a receptive delay. Tomorrow it could change again for all I know.

And I think everyone is going to blame me.

There I said it. I said it, I said it, I said it. I think that everyone is going to think that it is all my fault. Before everyone becomes up in arms, I have to mention that we have an incredibly judgmental group of friends. I hear them gossiping about and judging everyone’s (who isn’t there, of course) parenting and relationship choices ALL OF THE TIME. This isn’t me being Carrie with her mom’s voice chanting, “They’re all gonna laugh at you” in my head. This is a cold, hard fact. My friends are uber judgmental. They are my friends and I love them without question but it is simply the truth.

So I haven’t said a word. Not one word.

And as the crazy thought popped into my head that I haven’t told anyone, a second even crazier than first thought followed it…

I haven’t told anyone except for a public blog that total strangers read.

I know that that seemed like an excessive amount of bold words but it was warranted. That was exactly the inflection in the sentence in my mind as I thought it. How strange is it that I haven’t told a single one of my friends but I talk about it so openly with complete strangers?

Though I have my reasons, it is still an odd thing to do. I repeat, I have my reasons. Once, a friend commented that she “felt sorry” for my son because I kept him “home all of the time like Boo Radley“. For those of you who aren’t into classic literature, he was a recluse bordering on agoraphobia. It has since been talked through and she felt as though I was attacking her parenting-which I wasn’t-by my inquiring if her infant was feeling better when she mentioned she was taking her to a football game. Three days after the child had been in the hospital. I was relieved that she felt better so quickly and here my friend was thinking I was “attacking” her ability to parent her child. Mind you, the Boo Radley comment was told to me through a mutual friend. Also mind you, this is not an episode of 16 and pregnant I am recounting for you. This actually happened. We are grown woman in our thirties. Sigh.

Reiterating once more, I have my reasons for my decision to keep it from them. But it is still weird. Even for someone as odd as myself. But I can’t help but think that I will be met with sympathy that I don’t want or need only to hear later that the time I had a glass of wine on my birthday at Bennihana’s when I was pregnant was brought up. Or the time I played water volleyball when I was pregnant even though everyone gave me a hard time. It’s water for Christmas sakes. Or the fact that I didn’t put him in daycare or classes to be socialized properly. Or that I actually allowed him to have all of his immunizations. Or that I let him watch television before the age of two.

Some days…most days…I blame myself. So why wouldn’t my friends?

The irony is that now I am becoming Boo Radley.

Childhood Development Parenting Parenting and Childhood Development

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Amber Perea View All →

I'm just living minute to minute, hour to hour, day to day.

23 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Aw I’m sorry. I’m sure you know its not your fault but its hard to get your feelings aligned with that fact. I’m not sure if you go to church ( I never went my whole life until recently) and but its something you might want to look into. Just before I found out about my son’s complications, I had joined a bible study group with the most caring supportive ladies who have the heart of Jesus. I can share things with them that I wouldnt’ feel comfortable with others because I know that they do not gossip or judge me but love me and my kids.

  2. Hey Amber. You’re awesome!!!!! And God bless you for not “properly socializing” your son in daycare. You are a WAAAYYY better influence on him than the typical preschooler.

    I haven’t had a chance yet to dig deep into your story, but my son has Down syndrome and is severely speech delayed at age 6. The best thing I’ve done for him is putting him into speech therapy and attending his sessions with him. No matter what is going on with your kiddo, if it’s affecting his communication skills, speech therapy can help A LOT!!!!! Speech is about talking, language is about communication – receptive and expressive – both are important. I think often times when kids are speech delayed, everything grinds to a halt, and they start falling behind in concepts and receptive language just because they are not talking. A good speech therapist will keep him moving forward.

    Enjoy the heck out of each and every happy moment, let it be the fuel that gets you through the tantrums and tears. I never did figure out if above you were talking about his tears or yours :).

    Blessings, and welcome to Bloggsville!

    Alyson

  3. Thank you so much for your wonderful response! It means so much to hear that you think I am doing the right thing. I have struggled with that tremendously. In the beginning, when it was just an expressive issue (or so we thought at the time) all my mother in law kept saying (well meaning, she is the sweetest woman in the world), “maybe he should just be around kids his own age”. Repeatedly. I started to feel bad but knew that just putting him in a class setting with rules and regulations would just be frustrating and confusing for him. But it still stung, every time.

    As for enjoying the moments, Oh, I do. Jp is one of the sweetest and most loving children there is. Also, MOODY! So I have learned to take the snuggles when they are offered and love every minute of his sweet inquisitive nature because you never know what “storm” may be around the corner! πŸ™‚

    Thank you for sharing your story and for taking the time to comment, it means so much to converse with other moms that identify with some of the issues that Jp is going through!

    • Okay- I’ve been digging deeper. You’ve got one heck of a handsome son!!!! Has your speech therapist mentioned anything about apraxia? I’m an apraxia fanatic and wonder if she thinks any of his symptoms line up. I love to hear that JP is a visual learner. There is SOOOOO much you can do to modify curriculum and teach him visually. I think I’m going to learn a lot from you. I’m an overachiever when it comes to my kid, yet looking back over the last 6 years, the one thing I would change is I wouldn’t worry so much and I wouldn’t push him so hard. But my excuse is he has Down syndrome, so I gave up on him ever becoming typical a LONGGGG time ago, and JP may very well turn out to be just fine. It’s so hard to know how hard to try and when to just sit back and take it all in. So many life lessons wrapped up in those little ones!

      God gave me a word picture when Noah was very young, and it has really helped me – “Sometimes the greatest gifts come wrapped in the strangest packaging.” Enjoy your gift!

      Blessings,
      Alyson

      • When he grasps a word it is perfectly pronounced so that takes apraxia off. His phrases, which are learned as a whole, sound as though an adult is speaking so that rules it out as well. It could central auditory processing disorder, though I don’t think so as that causes kids to be distracted in crowds and Jp is so singularly focused that the original thought was on the spectrum. Which is still could be-especially since his expressive is much higher than his receptive and that is a common issue in HFA. It’s all very up in the air at this point.

        What it is-or isn’t-has become the thing I think about least though now. Whatever it is the main focus is language. Understanding it, breaking it down, speaking slowly and deliberately, and celebrating every recreation of sounds and words. I am in the process of making a ‘Word Book’ to attach pictures to words to aid in his understanding. He’s not a big book guy but I’m using his favorite show’s characters and I am hoping that will help a lot, too. πŸ™‚

        Thank you for saying he is handsome, we like to think so! I always say that it is not vain of me to say how pretty my son is since he looks NOTHING like me lol! πŸ™‚

        Ps- I read something yesterday that I loved about being typical.

        Everyone is different…so being different…is NORMAL! πŸ™‚

      • What a puzzle! We’re constantly making stuff for Noah to assist in his language acquisition and understanding, so maybe we can exchange ideas. If you’re not on Pinterest yet, run, don’t walk, and start looking up speech therapy and receptive language stuff. It is amazing how much you can get for free and you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. I hope you’ll blog about some of the stuff you guys are working on. I’m always looking for new ideas.

        Blessings,
        Alyson

        P.S. I’ve decided the rest of the “normal” world is pretty unhappy and dysfunctional, so I’ll stick to “special.” πŸ™‚

      • Thanks for the suggestion! I plan on posting some of my finished product. The trouble is that sometimes Jp can be very resistant to anything that isn’t in his wheelhouse (trucks, robots, angry birds, Star Wars {mostly for the robots}) so I have to find a way to make learning interesting! πŸ™‚

        And as for being special…I couldn’t agree more! (Hence my blog title..lol)

      • So if you used his robots and trucks to do a learning activity, would it just make him mad, or would it get him interested?

        BTW, I saw you posted about driving to San Antonio to buy a car. We’re in DS.

        Blessings,
        Alyson

  4. Ok, love them as you may, it sounds like you need some new friends! You are going to find lots of people out there who judge you (especially when your child acts a little “different.”) Your friends and family should not be one of them! There is NO WAY that your son’s delays are your fault! And anyone who is going to blame you knows NOTHING about developmental delays! It is natural for you to blame yourself, but it is not your fault and you can’t stay in that place for long bc it is unproductive! Get him help. Find a support group with parents who are going through the same thing and ditch the friends who judge! They aren’t worth your heartache!

  5. It’s so funny because before I sell them to the glue factory I really should just tell them! I’m putting the cart before the horse so to speak. lol.

    And I think the biggest issue with blaming myself that I, personally, know very little about developmental delays. I do now, more at least, but in the beginning I had no idea what I was dealing with or what the causes were so I suppose I just anticipate everyone will have the same reaction and confusion that I did. πŸ™‚ It’s unfair in a way and I will have to post further updates on the responses that actually happen and not just the manifestations of my fears in blog form.

    Thank you sooooo much for your support and advice! It truly has been such a blessing to have you fellow moms to converse with on the subject and lately I have been feeling infinitely more comfortable with the situation and am solely focused on how to address his issues in small pieces and not just feeling overwhelmed by the whole. That and just enjoying Jp’s childhood!

    You truly are an angel and I appreciate you!

  6. I think we all do this to some extent – and it takes guts to acknowledge that you are.
    I went through phases – constantly, rapidly changing phases. Will they blame me? Well, should they blame me? Will they pity me? Will they pull away? Will they give me the same hard time that everyone else is? Will they judge me? Think I’m overreacting?
    Without even realizing I was doing it, I pulled away before I gave anyone else the chance to. People who have been my best friends for more than ten years, who have seen me through travesty and triumph, I pulled into my shell-like world faster than a scared turtle.
    It took me a long time before I realized I was hurting myself as much as I was them. They didn’t know what was going on. And I didn’t give them the chance to. That was a sad moment for me.
    I think on some level we all blame ourselves. And it’s a heck of a lot easier to tell a bunch of faceless, unknown cyber-folks things than it is to tell people we have to interact with. So what if some random person online thinks this or that – it’s not like I know that person enough to care about his or her opinion. But my friends and family? They are close enough to my heart to cause damage.
    I was overwhelmed when I finally made some phone calls and let people know what was going on. My friends, these incredibly different women, all stood by me. Supported me, offered any help they could, lent me their ears, and forever cemented their place in my heart.
    Sometimes that wasn’t the case – and I think we’re better for it. What would I want a bunch of nay-sayers around my kids for anyway?
    Of course, that didn’t stop me from doing the exact same thing the second time around – Mason has been in therapy for a year and I’m just now starting to tell people what’s going on with him.
    The mind is a scary place to venture, the mind of a mom with a special kid – is even more so!

  7. I truly love you for saying that it took guts. I struggle sometimes as (obviously) I am a very guarded and private person and when I blog I have to force myself to step outside of that. Otherwise, what is the point? If I only blog the good I would be a liar and if I only blogged the bad I would be being untrue. So I have learned to just write what I feel in that moment and hope the world doesn’t hate me for it. Which they haven’t, I have found tremendous amounts of support and advice and it makes me wonder why I didn’t do this years ago!

    I think I am just going to plan a party (which used to be one of my favorite things to do) and just do it. Like ripping off a band-aid. And if I lose a friend, so be it. Like you said, I wouldn’t want nay-Sayers around my beautiful son anyways! πŸ™‚

  8. Hi! As a total stranger but also someone that regularly reads your blog and feels as though I know you, I think that we say stuff where we feel safe to say stuff. Here you can vent and people who are out of your loop can see with clarity what you’re going through. I guess also you just say it to us without hindrance, maybe some of your friends are up to hearing the real deal though? Maybe?? One or two? Em x

    • I’m working on it…in my own way. I haven’t made any grand announcements or anything like that but I have posted a few videos on Facebook of our “word games” and have started having friends over again. I stopped hiding, at least. So far I have been waiting in these social situations for someone to ask but no one has so I haven’t volunteered, either.

      I have never been one to share my burdens so I feel that I am making positive steps in the right direction…in my own weird way. πŸ™‚

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment, I always enjoy your cute ideas on your blog!

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