The oldest boy has a speech impediment. When he was two, it was adorable. When he was three, it was still kind of precious. It was endearing, disarming, and just indicative of his gentle nature, at least I thought so.
When he went to kindergarten, it had gotten better.
When he started first grade I realized, it wasn't going away. I stood on my head and raised hell until he got into speech therapy. And he's made progress. He's so much clearer now, that you'd probably say he has a slight speech impediment now. R's are his enemy.
Of course now it's fifth grade and he hates it. He resents losing class time for his speech therapy. He hates going down to where the special kids go, even though he wouldn't say so, let's face it - there's stigma. He wants to be with the NOT SPECIAL kids.
So on our way to school, he's muttering about stupid speech, and I remind him that he needs it. He disagrees, and starts getting upset to the point of tears that HE DOESN'T NEED IT ANYMORE.
Except, he says he doesn't need it any mo-ah.
R's. They are still not there, not the way they should be.
So, while I watch one of the loves of my life brought to tears of frustration I take a sip of coffee, and let him know that no, in fact he isn't ok and he needs therapy. I remind him that if he would do his homework for speech aggressively and get this mastered, we could quit, but until then, he'll keep going.
He stares at me blankly, like he can't believe I'm not on his side about this.
"You know those parents on American Idol? The ones who are VEHEMENT that their baby can sing, but in fact baby is tone deaf, and we all have a good laugh at them?" I ask.
He nods, and wipes away his tears.
"Well, if they had a good mom, who told them the truth rather than what they WANTED to hear, America wouldn't be laughing at them over dinner. Their mom didn't love them enough to say "No baby, you can't sing. You're good at lots of things but not THIS. Does that make sense?"
He agrees, and looks sadly ahead.
"I'm not going to lie to you, Lou. You need speech therapy."
He sits there for a minute, then says "But you think I'm getting better?"
I confirmed that as we turned into the parking lot for school.
He smiled when he got out of the car. "Ok Mom, Have a great day."
Great. GREAT. Perfect R.
You can do this, kid.