Whoa. This is a hard one for me, mainly because I’m a fixer. Or maybe because I’m a do-it-myself-er. I like to just dive and do. This is both a blessing and a curse. Just ask those around me!
When it comes to parenting, it’s more of a curse. I have always been bad about just doing things for Harrison, even though he is perfectly capable. The kid is three and just started dressing himself a few weeks ago all because of me! And what’s worse is that I didn’t even think of that as a problem. But I’m learning. And I really am trying to slow the flip down and just let him work it out, whatever it happens to be in the given moment. I’m still not good at it, but I’m trying.
My trying is a bit under fire these days…if you’ve ever been around Harrison, you know he is a very verbal kid. Talks all the time. He started speaking pretty clearly around age two and hasn’t slowed down since. Except now, all of the sudden, he is stuttering. And, you know me…I want ever-so-badly to dive in and fix it for him, mostly because it has totally caught me off guard and I know he can speak just fine. At least, I think he can because he always has, up until a couple weeks ago.
After we got back from our little SoDak vacation, we took the kids to their well baby visits (I will always call them well baby visits, even when they are in high school because my kids will always be my babies; that’s just how it is). At that time, there were no speech issues to discuss because I’d never once in my life heard HD stutter. And then, two days later, it started. Why?!
I’ve been trying to do some quick Internets research to learn more and I think part of the problem is right in line with what I’ve been reading: sleep and excitement. We’ve definitely noticed it later in the day, in those lovely witching hours between afternoon snack and bedtime. Typically it is just the first word of whatever he’s trying to say over and over and over. Once he gets past that word, he’s fine. But now I’m hearing it earlier in the day, usually when he’s worked up about something like going potty or playing a game, or when he’s talking about preschool.
And that might be the real answer here. Right after we got back from vacation, we got Harrison’s letter about preschool and holy moly cow, was he ever excited. He’s been asking to go to preschool every day since (we have Open House tonight – hopefully he loves it!). So now I’m wondering if all this excitement he’s feeling for school has him all revved up and is impacting his speech. If that’s all it is, then we’ll be able to give it the recommended five-to-six months and hopefully it will resolve itself.
But here is where my patience level and just-fix-it-ness are really being tested. What I’ve read says that you really don’t want to draw any attention to it because that could make the child self-conscious or embarrassed (or just drive him to do it more for attention). So no telling him to slow down or take a breath or any of those “helpful” sayings. And no repeating the sounds. And no rushing. Just sit and give him the attention he needs to know that you will listen to what he has to say. I should also note that this is hard for me because I’m a bit of magpie myself and have a tendency to pick up on words and phrases that other people use and use them in my own speech patterns. That means I have to make sure that when I say something back to Harrison, I do not repeat unnecessary sounds. I know this sounds ridiculous, but I really do have to be conscious of it.
And I’m asking you to be as well. If you’re around my Little Man any time soon, please don’t draw any attention to this. I think it is a normal developmental thing and I think that after preschool starts in a week and a half, everything will settle down and he’ll go back to being my smooth talker. And if not, then we’ll deal with it in an appropriate manner. But no teasing. No rushing. No commenting at all, really, and I think we’ll be just fine!