Satisfying my obsessive compulsions through the pursuit of creativity and personal betterment

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Day Four: This Boy


Today I am thankful for this boy, Lachlan Jericho.   His nickname is frequently, "The Non-Verbal Minion" and he has accomplished what no other child in this house has done:  at age 2.5, he had not uttered a word.  I was not worried.  None of my boys have ever talked before age 2, and they always caught up very quickly with no issues.   He made different sounds and noises, he was affectionate and looked you in the eye, was not unhappy, and seemed to be able to hear just fine.  So I let him be. 

Diligently painting his fingers at the library Halloween party.
 At the beginning of September, he started acting sick.  One day with a fever, one day off, then the third the fever returned in force.  He would not eat and was very unhappy.  By the end of the third day I could tell he had a nasty ear infection:  one of his ears was swollen inside and draining a bit.  We treated it the best we could (it was a weekend, and we were between insurances) and the next day it was worse.  Sometime in the afternoon blood and pus began oozing out of his ear, and we knew his ear drum had ruptured.  We cleaned it very carefully with peroxide, and by the next day it was still draining, but clear and was much less swollen.  A visit to Dr. Google and we confirmed that his ear would be draining for some time, so besides periodically cleaning it, we left it alone.  (It did get re-infected a couple weeks later, but we got him some antibiotics and it cleared back up) 

One of the first times Lachlan let her play next to him without freaking out and running away

That week after his ear drum burst, something extraordinary happened:  whenever I took a picture with my camera, Lachlan would run over and say, "Cheese!"   Besides random gibberish, this was the first word he had ever spoken, and by far the clearest.  I was so amazed I took dozens of pictures that week, just to convince him to keep saying it.   It did not stop there:  slowly at first, but quickly picking up speed, he has added at least a dozen decipherable words.  And he MIMICS.  I knew he was jabbering while watching Thomas, but I never really listened to it.  (I had always blamed too much television for his unwillingness to speak)  The first thing I noticed him mimicking was Baby Einstein farm animals, and he sang a very enthusiastic EE AI EE AI EE AI EE AI OHHHHH whenever they did on the screen.  This was wonderful, and I tried singing the song with him, but he usually clammed up and stared at me.  So I just resigned myself to listening and grinning whenever that song came on, to hear his little voice take character and personality and make SENSE. 

Lachlan and two of his older brothers

In the meantime, he was trying out many new words, one of his favorite being "NO!" of course.  He would sing along a little bit with "Itsy Bitsy Spider", but mostly he just wanted to listen.  Then after we returned from morning trick or treating the weekend before Halloween, I put on Nightmare Before Christmas, one of his favorite movies.  As the Husband and I got lunch together, I noticed him singing along to the movie.  I stopped to listen,  and after awhile I realized something amazing:  he was reciting the entire movie.    In his sing-song gibberish-y way, he was mimicking almost every line in the movie by the prominent sound, the few words he knew, and the emotion behind the voice.  When a character yelled, he yelled.  When the voice singing went up in pitch, so did he.  If they spoke fast, he jabbered fast.  If they sang slow and hauntingly, he swayed back and forth, singing along.  And one of the incredible things was he wasn't just hearing something and repeating it, he was doing it at exactly the time that it happened, like he already knew the entire thing in his head. 

Lachlan loves his trains

At this time, I have listened to him mimic and recite many other movies and songs.  His memory astounds me.  I haven't ever had a child do this before.  It's like watching a beautiful story unfold, something you've never seen before, and you have no idea how it's going to play out.  Will he retain this ability to memorize and mimic later in life?  Will he become the talented singer that I've longed for out of my kids? (Don't get me wrong, all the kids are....enthusiastic.  Just not quite on pitch :) )  All I know is I feel privileged to have a front row seat to watch him absorb the world and make it his own.

More Cheese!  Srsly, I have about 25 pictures that look exactly like this.

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