To be honest, I would have to look in Olivia’s baby book to remember when she said “mama” for the first time. But I do remember when Oscar said it. He said “mama” at 11months old. He called “mama” first thing in the morning to be picked up from his crib. He even started saying “uma” for our dog Suma.
Our speech therapist was baffled by this. His hearing age was technically that of a 7month old (because at 4months old he got his hearing aids and proper access to sound). I thought that Oscar had beaten the odds. Unfortunately, I was wrong. I don’t know what happened. But he stopped. And he hasn’t said it since.
Oscar is now 21months old. It has been 10 months since I heard him call my name. And I am sad because I don’t know if I will hear him say it again. Or “Papa” or “I love you” or “goodnight” or any of the other sayings that I took for granted with Olivia. I do wonder what his little voice will sound like, and then in my weak moments I wonder if I will ever get the chance to hear it.
So many moms or parents know what this feels like. And likewise so many moms or parents take for granted all of the “normal” things that their children are able to do as I did with Olivia.
Now with speech therapy we are working with a “big mack” which essentially is a large button that you can record a phrase and teach your child that they can request something by pushing the button. My goal has always been that Oscar would be verbal and I HATE that I have to use the big mack. The transition is from the big mack to a four button version of the same thing and then I guess eventually (should he need it) to some type of computer.
By November 2019 Oscar had become relatively silent. There were many days that I would tell my husband that Oscar hadn’t made a noise, not even a laugh or a cry. When I say silent I truly mean not a sound. Neurology wondered if he had had a seizure that had effected language production? We hadn’t witnessed any seizure activity. Our speech therapist encouraged us to make a big celebration of any little noise that he made. We did this. We still do this.
At every sound we celebrate. This means that if my daughter is in the middle of telling us a story and Oscar makes a noise I turn to Oscar and make a big celebration, ignoring Olivia. Once again Olivia is noticeably put in second place. But what is the other option? I want my son to talk, I want to encourage any vocalization that he makes. And many times this comes at Olivia’s expense and it eats me up inside.
Oscar is vocalizing more now. He shrieks to request or protest something, he laughs and he cries. I don’t know what the future holds for him, but I know that I have to try to maximize his abilities. And this is why we work at it EVERYDAY. Hope is a scary thing. But I do have hope that he will speak one day. But for right now I will settle for “mama”.