Dexter has always been a feisty one. He was a tiny little chicken shaped baby with almost no hair except the little mohawk like tuff on the top of his head. His labor was miserable. All in my back and long. I remember thinking in my head, “hurry up little boy” but he took his time. It set the tone for his life to date.
He was also a wild baby. Bullheaded. Determined. He would climb things and do things that just weren’t normal of a baby his age. I will never forget the day that he managed to open our front down, navigate the front steps and go to the car… that is parked on the busy street. In a few short moments I’d lost him, because he wanted to go. Thank God for kind people who’d grabbed him as I flung my entire self out the door towards the street.
Dexter didn’t talk. At all for almost two years. Looking at all the words Dixon has at only 18 months, I feel so bad I didn’t realize how little my Dexter said. He was two before he could even say his name and even that was tough for him. He said almost nothing his entire first year in preschool and his chosen form of communication was always a fit, closely followed by head pounding. We had a rough year.
Months of speech therapy, lots of constant talking and we’ve finally met some milestones. Yesterday I listened to him speak in 5-7 words sentences. Of course he’s got a little bit of help but he’s coming along. He’s got so many new words and such a bright and nice attitude. He’s like a new child. The child I knew he was.. the child hidden by the frustration of not being able to tell people what he needed. What he wanted and what needed to be done.
We were out and about last week. He played happily with kids and tried to make simple conversations. He’s big. Well, taller, than the average three year old we’re finding and I think the expectation of him may be that of a four year old. One child who found it curious he didn’t “talk”, said he was dumb. “He doesn’t talk so good. He’s dumb.”
My boy? Dumb? Not at all. And while my heart broke into a million tiny pieces, it was quickly built back up when he looked at the child as if nothing happened and kept playing. Because he’s happy. And I don’t know if he just didn’t realize what being dumb was or if he didn’t care but either way, his bright and beautiful smile made me smile.
I think he knows in his heart how hard he’s working and what a good, sweet and fun boy he is. He’s not dumb. Not at all. And unfortunately kids can be cruel and sadly, it seems to be starting younger and younger. Hopefully, we’re providing him with enough love and kindness so that those words go in one ear and out the other… and that he just keeps smiling… and knowing that he makes me smile too.