Although there are many hand books available for purchase to walk you through the first weeks..Months and early years of your child's life. Nothing can ever really prepare you for all that there is to come. Those books are guidelines, mere text on paper, which is great should you have a text book baby, a text book toddler, a perfectly 'normal' pre-schooler. We all know that it's not that straight cut, babies, toddlers, children, no two are ever alike. They are all individuals weaving their way on their very own path, but they will all get where there supposed to go, in their own good sweet time.
If you have followed my journey with Leo over the past 17 months or so, you will know that we have had a bit of a bumpy ride. After being let down by our health visitor, and having to watch on as Leo was scored way below where he 'should' be on his development time after time, I got to the point where I expected to hear negativity in every direction, everyone seemed to have concerns, but nothing positive to say? Was there something underlying with my beautiful boy? Was I being naive? Should I stick to my guns? Of course I knew that everyone just wanted the best for Leo, just as I did. I happily accepted all the help offered to me and of course to Leo. I attended sensory play, speech therapy, nursery appointments, before the health visitor finally met with Leo again.
That appointment completely blew my mind, I really thought that we were going to get referred to the pediatrician, in fact I wanted to be referred. We could finally get one over all opinion and some answers, maybe some proper support to help Leo should he need it. The health visitor sat with us and decided there and then that Leo was absolutely fine, which in my heart of hearts I had known all along. Of course with that resounding declaration from the health visitor, there were now conflicting opinions rocking the boat, yet again. I had nursery telling me that Leo was severely behind and actually at the development level of a 22-36 month old, and the health visitor was adament that Leo performed exactly where he should be and beyond, actually placing him between the level of 4-5 years old..
While concern after concern for his speech was being raised, and the little boy I could see shining brightly on a daily basis wasn't being recognized in the nursery setting but was coming along all the time in my company, I couldn't understand how no one else could see it. How no one could see him learning and absorbing everything around him, a little sponge in this big wide world. I decided a long time ago to throw caution to the wind, to accept every bit of advice that was made available to us, but to trust my instinct. It may sound crazy, but I didn't worry about Leo. I had every faith in him finding his way, finding his voice and his confidence. You can't rush a child, I knew this, how didn't anyone else? So he didn't speak as well as Joe Blogs!? So he was quiet and reserved? Does that mean we have to pin a label on him?
Flash forward to today...
Today was Leo's second parent's evening. I went straight from work, and you know what? I was ready to hear all about the things Leo wasn't doing. I was mentally ready to look at that development sheet and see where Leo was...and where he 'should' be. To hear the worries about Leo starting school in September.. Only... This evening was the most positive feedback I have received from nursery in the history of Leo's time there.
He counts, recites his days of the week (over and over again!), joins in, dresses himself (at school anyway!), Sings NURSERY Rhymes (The boy that never did!), Asks questions, has many friends, talks with peers, initiates games... Not one negative item of feedback. All glowing, all singing all dancing!
Leo got there. He GOT THERE!
I was balled over. Knocked for six. Proud!
So very proud.
I have always been proud. Every milestone, bump in the road, smile and tear. This is his path, his time and there is no expiration date on learning. I have kept my cool and somehow my hair throughout this entire ordeal. I have watched Leo learn new words, try new experiences and come on all the time.
Then one day his confidence just exploded. Out of nowhere, that beautiful boy of mine suddenly had the get up and go that had lay in hibernation until he was ready. Now he is un-stoppable, his vocabulary is widening all the time, oh the things we talk about. He may just be the only 3 year old who asks for a Costa Babycino and puts up the perfect argument as to why he NEEDS one.
I can honestly say that tonight I sit here and write this post with an unbelievable pride, A pride that only comes when the battle is won, or at least when the waters calm and you can see through the storm to the reality of what you believed all along. That existence for me is that Leo was learning in his own good sweet time, and now he is picking up momentum, the cogs were always turning but suddenly the pace is gaining speed. There's a hunger to be filled, a curiosity that is propelling him forward, and I have been a part of it all. I believed in him, and I believed in myself, my instinct as his Mum.
Guidelines... PAH! Guidelines are exactly that...Guidelines! That line they draw that your child is above or below doesn't exist. Every child is different. They learn when they are good and ready.
I am so glad that I had the faith in my clever boy, and in myself!