Evan is my first born. My first born, my middle weight, the
last one I saw the afternoon they were born, and one of my children that I
worry the most about. I don't talk very much about the 'real' things in my
life. The things that I'm truly experiencing, like my fears, my daily worries,
the things that keep me up at night... Evan is, and has been at times one of
When the Triplets were babies, all was well. There was absolutely nothing that
I would have pinpointed as out of the ordinary. All three boys smiled, cooed,
sat up, rolled over, clapped their hands, and did all of the very typical
things just as I would have expected. Babbling seemed to come just as
smoothly... We know that all three boys said DaDa first, and at one point were
saying MaMa, it was never recorded because of my crazy bookeeping skills :)
From there though, the details get just a little foggy. William seemed to take
off running, learning new words and phrases, whole songs even, so quickly! He
was boggling our minds. In the meantime Evan (and Jack who I'll save for
another day) seemed to be standing still. We thought maybe he just didn't want
to talk, no desire it seemed. But then the fear slowly crept in that, could it
be, that there was no ability? Could there be something wrong? Could he be
delayed? Not my child. NOT MY CHILD.
Denial is a powerful thing.
I went on for months. I continued on thinking any day now, c'mon Ev. You can DO this. Nothing. While William had an extensive vocabulary of over 25 words, Evan had zero. Evan couldn't point to something to tell us what he wanted or needed. He didn't seem to know his name. Our hearts seemed to be breaking, right inside of our chests. Jon, the eternal optimist kept reassuring me that there was nothing wrong. That he was just slower, that he would come around, after all he himself had been a late speaker... it probably ran in the family. We just needed to give him some time... Just give him some time...
After what seemed like forever, at the end of December, I had a conversation with Wilciara about Evan and his seemed lack of recognition of his name. She mentioned to me that she thought he had improved on that a bit. I pushed away from the table, turned and said, "Ev-ee?"... He didn't turn around. BUT. He moved his eyes away from his book and looked at me. HE LOOKED AT ME. Was this a coincidence? I grilled Wilc. Was this what he does? Is this how he responds? Is this his typical response? How do you reward him when he responds to you like that? Internally I was doing my own private happy dance... My child responded to me. He knew his name. He KNEW I was talking to him. It was possible too then, that he knew I loved him. Oh there IS a God...
We went in December for our 18 month checkup, I talked with Dr.V extensively. He saw my concern. He didn't agree though. I've told you all before just how much I LOVE Dr.V. With this debacle however, I was concerned about his Doctoring abilities. I was concerned that he might not know what he was talking about. I mean, he didn’t live with Ev, he didn’t see him every day. However, his answers to my questions of “why” seemed so practical. “Jessica” he said “Not only is he a high order multiple, he was born premature, he’s also a boy. He has quite a few factors working against him. Coupled with the fact that his Dad spoke very late, we could just be looking at a simple delay in speech.” Feeling only slightly better, I left with the understanding that we would return if we saw no improvement in a few months.
Months passed. Improvement came. The improvement was small though, and the celebrations were infrequent. The responsiveness to his name that we had noticed had changed, he certainly knew his name. He also knew when we were telling him ‘No’. There was still no pointing, still no gesturing, nothing guiding us toward what Evan needed. We did begin to notice however that what Will needed, Evan needed. Will seemed to be communicating for the other boys, could that be the key? We knew that Will was functioning at a whole other level, it was entirely possible that he was doing what a typical older brother would do. He was already asking for drinks, and food, diapers and whatnot. We would never, give to one and not the other. We instantly began thinking that maybe Evan was a little lazy, simply because of William’s eagerness to speak. Could it be? Could it be that easy? Please God, let it be that easy.
So, here we are today. The boys are 1 month away from their 2nd birthday. Evan still doesn’t talk, but just one week ago, we had a huge breakthrough. A breakthrough that left most of us involved, in tears.
It wasn’t an abstract point. He pointed at the crackers that I was holding. I was working so hard with him, trying to get him to show me the sign for cracker. He kept getting his cracker & running away. When he wanted another, he would come back, sit down about three feet away from me. He would scoot progressively closer & closer, until he was nearly sitting in my lap. Then he pointed, at the bag, AT THE CRACKER. It was like slow motion. It was like the whole world around me stopped. Nothing else mattered. For just that one second it was us. We were all crying… It was silly… But it was the best cry I’ve had in a long time.
The celebrations I’ve had with Evan have been really few and far between over the past year. Our first year together were full of milestones and achievements, it seemed so much so that I couldn’t keep up with them all! As the second year came along, those achievements really spread out. I realized that it made me savor them so much more, I’ve been able to really take my time with each one of his moments. Look at each one, and really appreciate each one for what it is. My big boy, I know one day he will just open up and amaze me again… And whatever the future holds for us… I know we will be ok… I can just feel it.