Mr. Man, as I’ve mentioned previously, is a man of few words. While he is technically speech-delayed, the reality is that he simply chooses not to speak unless he has something he considers important to impart. This leads to some interesting moments around here, since Daddy and I have reached the point where, absent a crisis, we will not give him what he wants unless he tells us what it is. Our oldest son is the master of the thousand-watt smile and cutely pointing finger, but he’s slowly accepting that in this house, we communicate with spoken words.
Even though he knows he has to speak to get what he wants (we’re not sticklers for pronunciation, but we do expect him to say “cup, please” if he wants a drink), he’s a little bashful about it sometimes. There’s an added complication in that Bugaboo and Beanie are both fairly garrulous, and it’s tough for Mr. Man to make himself understood above his sisters’ constant chatter. When asked to repeat himself, he’ll often look around for help, and one of his sisters usually tells us what he wants — which is actually not even remotely helpful. Luckily, it’s also a great opportunity to teach all of them conversational manners and the importance of speaking for oneself (since what his sisters think Mr. Man should not is frequently not, in fact, his heart’s desire).
This morning, Mr. Man was trying to alight from his high chair without breaking any bones, which is occasionally a challenge for him if he’s wearing pants with a loose waistband. After a few slips, he held out his arms to me and said, “up, pease,” without any prompting. Praising him lavishly for not only speaking, but also choosing the correct words to communicate what he so clearly wanted, I got up from my chair and crossed the kitchen to assist him. It was at that point that Mr. Man provided me with my “miracle moment” for the day.
The big guy is a nearly constant presence in the kitchen while his sisters are doing their lessons, and he has also appropriated a large number of their learning toys, particularly the ones that teach letters and numbers. Because he speaks so infrequently, I’ve never really been able to get a good handle on how much he’s picked up, although he’ll sometimes point to individual letters or numbers in books and tell me their names. As I approached him, wearing my souvenir shirt from the Orioles’ 2003 home opener, Mr. Man started pointing to numbers and letters, and with an increasingly broad grin, read off the following to me: “Two, zewo, zewo, free, I, W, A, S, T, H, E, R, E, O, P, E, N, I, N, G, D, A.”
He missed the Y. I don’t care. I swept him up and spun him around, listening to his gleeful giggle as I told him how proud I was of him and what a bright little boy he is. He planted one of his noisy kisses on my cheek and started wiggling to get down as he heard Beanie fire up her Alphie in the next room.
For all the frustration of getting him to put the crayon on the paper instead of him his mouth, of trying to get him to put the spoon in his mouth instead of in his hair, of trying to get him to put the shirt over his head instead of in the diaper genie . . . I can keep going for a long, long time on that memory from this morning.
He does floors, too!
Today’s prayer: Lord, just when my patience is running thin, You send me a reminder that Your blessings really are paying attention. Thank You for Your graces, for Your blessings who are bright and kind and loving in ways that I can understand. Please help me remember the time when I was very small and the world was very large and loud, when I struggled to understand the world around me and what was expected of me, and grant me the wisdom to have the patience that I desperately needed the adults in my world to show me. Remind me that because my husband and I are teaching them about You, that we must show them what You expect in our own words and deeds — and that Your blessings deserve the same patience from us that You have with us.