"I never hear you talk," said the other swim mom to Cooper in a sweet voice. "Talk to me, sweetie."
I struggled to fight back tears.
At 18 months, Cooper should be talking.
We know he isn't.
We are painfully aware that he isn't.
He's listening. He's gesturing. He's pointing and leading us hand in hand. He's laughing. He's getting frustrated when we don't know what he wants.
But he's not talking.
My willful, rebellious, active boy barely even babbles.
I hate talking about Cooper not talking. I hate this feeling that there is something wrong with my boy. Or worse, that I did something wrong when I was pregnant with him that caused this.
All those months of morning sickness has always left me wondering if we aren't bonded the same way that his older brother and I are.
All those ear infections in his first life... one a month for 7 months in a row... did those cause hearing damage?
Last week, I called his pediatrician. He reassured me that Cooper is doing lots and lots of things. He's following 2-step directions (find your shoes and bring them to daddy). He's physically developing on target (note to self: post video of Cooper jumping on Facebook). He's attentive and active and interactive and perfect in every way.
I was starting to feel better until he asked if I had a pen to write down the number for the Early Start program in our county.
All of the reassurances from friends and family do help. But the nagging guilty feeling that all mother's get when something isn't going as expected is way stronger than anyone sharing how their genius son didn't talk until 2. Or how their twins (who have other developmental delays that Cooper does not exhibit) really benefited from Early Start services. Or how a child in their classroom went undiagnosed with hearing loss until age 8 and now that they've fixed his hearing, his grades has shot up to advanced placement. None of those make me feel better. Or relived that I'm not alone. In my heart, I know that I am not alone. But
This morning I called the Early Start program. Paperwork is being mailed to us as I write these words.
Admitting that Cooper isn't talking feels like the worst thing in the world.
But I know in my heart that the worst thing I could do as his mother is to do nothing. So I'm wiping away my tears and putting on my momma-bear armor.
It's time to end the silence.