I had to pick up Mikey an hour away, and I had to take all the boys with me. Ethan is moody – and that is the understatement of the year. Turns out he was in the mood to talk…and talk…and talk…
Ethan has a severe speech disorder called verbal apraxia. He knows exactly what he wants to say and his brain is rolling away, but his mouth cannot keep up. He uses word approximations, ASL, idiosyncratic signs, pictures in books and on his iPod, a speech producing program, pantomime, pointing and acting things out to get his points across. His ability to adapt is amazing…but tiring. Tiring because he needs me to acknowledge what he is saying by repeating it correctly – even if I am driving, cooking, cleaning, or reading.
Imagine this, your kid is talking your ear off, and you need to follow that up by talking your OWN ear off – I get tired of hearing my own voice – not necessarily his. He will not tolerate me just saying “oh really?” or “yes” or nodding. He needs me to say “you want to visit Mt. Rushmore someday” and “yes, Mikey is with his friend at a birthday party”. He needs to know he is being heard correctly. I get it – but it can be exhausting.
He wanted to talk about our country’s landmarks and who built the Statue of Liberty. He wanted to go see it – now. He wanted to talk about Mt. Rushmore and how daddy does not like The President, but he does and he wants to be the next one, and also try out for So You Think You Can Dance. He talked about food and the weather, his upcoming 18th birthday, and cars, cars, and more cars. Old cars, purple cars and what cars grandma had when she was young. He talked about fossils. He explained sap trapping bugs, turning to amber and preserving insects, leaves falling into mud and forming more fossils and how storms knock down trees and that he does not like hurricanes or tornadoes. He talked about moving out of our house – because, of course, we are old and yucky. He wants to live by the beach, with a woman and a dog. He talked about getting married – with a ring, and a honeymoon and a trip to the mall for new shoes – black ones – and a tie. He spent 15 minutes naming his fictional dog. He wanted my input. In the end he settled on Spot. He talked about getting a job and making money. He talked about working on a train, or in a auto garage, or the mall.
There was more. A lot more. Like I said, it was three hours. But when Ethan talks, mama listens.