Coming to Terms

December 19, 2007

Something is wrong with PJ.  I can no longer ignore the problem, like I’ve been doing for nearly a year when I first suspected it.  PJ is very behind in his language skills.  Even giving him those two months back, he’s probably close to six months behind.  His vocabulary is very limited, under fifty words and phrases, and he only adds another couple of words per week–on a good week.  I can rarely get him to imitate something I say, but the only phrases he will say he picked up from hearing me and M say them repeatedly (like “sleep tight” and “see you in a little while”).  He does not put words together, except for those phrases he mimics.

When we went to the doctor for his two-year check-up, I fully expected to be advised to find him help, but the doctor only asked one question about his language: Do you understand about half of what he says?  Considering he doesn’t even try to talk that much, out of frustration I suppose, at the time I was understanding close to half.  But that half was made up of about five phrases or words.  And things haven’t exactly improved over the last couple of months.  PJ is getting farther and farther behind, and it’s starting to worry me.

PJ was really behind in all his physical milestones, not sitting up until about 9 months, crawling until after a year, and walking at 18 months.  I slowly grew accustomed to him being on the very tail end of normal–no, acceptable–for all those milestones, and that’s why I kept trying to convince myself that he would catch up with his language skills too.  As soon as I’d start to worry again, he’d visit my parents and suddenly have another language explosion (meaning he’d add another word or two), and my mom would convice me he was doing fine.

No longer.  He’s behind, and he’s not getting any better.  Despite obviously understanding much of the language (he can follow fairly specific, detailed instructions), he cannot articulate it himself.  Many of his tantrums come from not making himself understood, which frustrates me and M too.  I think I’ll see if I can bring it up with the doctor when we’re there in January for BabyN’s next check-up.  I don’t think PJ is going to get any better without help.  We’ve already delayed it too long.