Holla, Hollis! (And Holla, Jess! too)
It wasn't that he wasn't communicating. Au contraire, he did that impeccably, it was just that he was full of barely coherent one-word commands and names when other boys his age (and younger) were well on their way to three- and four-word sentences.
I routinely told myself that nothing was wrong (and there isn't) and that I would let him just BE. If he was going to take longer than other kids, then so be it. My job isn't to rate him against others or check things off a list, it's to protect him and give him space to grow. I'm not concerned with raising a genius or arming him for excellence in pre-K. Seriously. I trust that whatever intellectual gifts he has will come out with or without my coaching.
Having said all this, I am greatly relieved to be in the midst of a true word explosion. Something happened in his little two-year old brain, a mysterious pow-wow of synapses and neurons, that has catapulted us into a new realm of family life. No longer can Mimi say, "Fuck!" and expect little ears (and mouths) to not instantly regurgitate. (And imagine my great amusement that grandma was the first to be mimicked in the cussing department and not Potty Mouth Mama! Oh, the irony!!)
I can trace the magical moment to the visit with my friends in Houston before Christmas. He hung out with two 8-year olds and an 11-year old and almost upon contact he was saying new words and commands.
Watching them together I realized how much Hollis needs other children. I'm lovingly parenting him with attachment and kindness and thoughtfulness, but I'm no replacement for little grubby hands and a shorter shadow on the playground. Being a kid means being around other kids, too.
I keep saying it (and you all keep helpfully giving me ideas to change my situation): I need to get out there and make friends with children. I'm in a book club with a local mommy's playgroup (I know, that's more for me, but hey, I'll be more likely to go to the kiddie things if I know some of the mothers there) and my neighbors' kids are getting to the playing age, too, so I'm working on it. I can just sense that more kids are coming into our lives and I'm so excited. I'm sure Hollis would be, too, if he knew about it.
Also, I'm going to start putting feelers out for part-time work in a month or two and lil' ol' Hollis will be in part-time day care.
Whoa. Now that's some big news, right?
And goddamn does it feel good to know that I'm taking care of the Jessica part of Mommy and not trying to force my square self into a round life. I already feel lighter, smarter, happier, and more satisfied with my life. This nuclear-family, no-tribe-having, alone-due-to-a-traveling-husband, running-out-of-ideas-by-4 o'clock-bullshit is ovah. Did I mention that in my resolutions? If I didn't, I should have.
Hollis is growing. So should I. I want him to have a mother who doesn't martyr herself "for the family's sake." That's just about the worst message I could send him. He could either a) end up doing the same thing himself, or b) think that's how women are supposed to behave in a relationship - or how a child-rearing partner should behave.
He's learning new language to navigate his world and it's time I learn some new tricks, too.
Pretty soon, I'm sure we'll be able to chat about our day over coffee. Well, not really "soon," but you get my drift. He's busy moving forward and I'm going to join him.