Being that I have not had kids before.. I didn't really know what to expect as far as baby 'milestones' are concerned.. I mean I figured they eventually learned to crawl, walk, hold their bottle, talk, etc.. But I didn't really know there were hard limits on when they were supposed to do those things.. Everyone will tell you that there isn't hard limits on these things..BUT.. then when you say that your baby isn't walking by 12 months they will say "Oh really? Little Jimmy walked at 6 months".. Whatever.. Move past those people..
Anyway.. When you go into your 18 month appointment you will get the "Autism Screening".. Now, you may not know this is what this is.. for example, it might just seem like a normal questionnaire in which you are answering basic questions about your tot.. but its not. Its a screener for early signs of Autism. I think this is a fine practice.. I'm not mad at the questionnaire.. I think early detection is awesome, and a great idea.. But I will tell you, when I'm in the pediatrician's office with two HEALTHY babies.. trying to keep them from picking up stale puffs on the floor, running their hands all over germy toys, and trying to keep sick kids from hugging them and sneezing on them.. My mind isn't always in the right place to think about every single thing they are doing developmentally and physically..
So because I'm a dumb mom.. I answer truthfully to the questions.. I'm saying 'truthfully'.. because I did answer them to my knowledge.. but sometimes my knowledge is not that accurate.. I'm a mom of twins. I am sometimes losing my mind..and don't know if I'm coming or going.. So sometimes I have a hard time remembering If Crosslee does this, or Londyn does that.. I'm sure all of you moms and dads realize that if you aren't expecting something to be important, sometimes you don't remember it. So Jordan and I end up answering NO to 3 or 4 questions on the questionnaire.. and boom! Londyn has to go and be evaluated for Autism and learning disorders..
I guess the reason why this is annoying to me.. is because all of this is based on what I say.. Like not on what Londyn actually does.. So I felt like I had failed her.. Mainly because after we got home we realized that she does do a lot of the things we said "NO" too.. but oh well.. Now we have an appointment with Sooner Start for her to be evaluated.. I do think its better to be safe than sorry..its a free program, with really great specialists.. and if she does need help, then I want to help her for SURE.. So we go.. and we realize that you will get dinged if your kid doesn't do the following things by 18 months..
1) Eat with a spoon.. Well my bad on this one. My girls did baby led weaning, so they have always eaten with their hands and have never been spoon fed, so they had no concept..and I had no clue that they were supposed to be doing that. My bad. They know what a spoon is..they know what to do with it.. so I thought I was winning. I wasn't.
2) Take their shoes off.. Um, why would I want her to take her shoes off when I had just put them on?
3) Playing pretend.. Cross has played pretend since early on. Every morning she gets all her animals out and pretends to feed and water them.. But since I had never seen Londyn do that I assumed she wasn't 'pretending'.. Little did I know that pretending can be a lot of things..It can be taking your phone and pretending to talk.. it can be taking the tv remote and pointing it at the TV..So Keep that in mind. Londyn DOES do the remote thing..Again, My bad.
4) Pointing. Pointing is BIG to them.. They don't want them to just touch pictures, they want them to POINT at them.. They want them to POINT at their cups and ask for them. They can't just ask for them.. they must point. POINTY POINTY POINTY.. When we got home, we realized that Londyn also pointed..she points at her Pa in the hallway and says "PA".. but we didn't realize this because we didn't know it was such a big deal. It is.. so watch for them pointing. Woops. My bad.
5) Playing with other kids.. No. LL could care less about this. She's not anti-social.. but she's got better things to do in her mind.. like explore, or read a book, or build with blocks. She likes to go and check on the other kids..and sure, she and Cross chase each other from time to time, but Londyn is fiercely independent and likes to do her OWN thing. I don't think this is a weird thing..I just think she likes to do her own thing for now.
Now.. I will say..Londyn does not, and has not ever said many words.. she chatters all the time.. speaks weird languages we don't understand.. but she only has a few words.. Mainly "Mama, dada, Pa, Oh, Wow, and Hey".. Other than that..she doesn't say that many words. LL is not a demanding child, so she has never really asked for things.. We usually just give her something when Cross is asking for
it b/c we figure she will want it eventually anyway.. But she never throws a fit for treats, a drink, a toy, etc.. She's just a pretty mellow girl, like her daddy.
But either way.. Sooner Start came over.. and they are amazing. Sooner Start is a free program provided by the state for early Intervention.. They are great. Its a great program. They had a speech pathologist and a Physical therapist evaluate Londyn and they did a great job. Londyn is not autistic.. She is extremely independent, and strong willed though.. We found out that Londyn was behind in her speech so they setup a person to come out to the house and work with her whenever we requested. (We decided to do every other week).. A lot of parents would feel threatened by this.. but listen, if someone offers your kiddo free help.. take it. LL has her first session this evening and I'm excited to see how it goes. We agreed on 3 goals for her progress:
1) To learn 25 new words or phrases
2) To engage in group play
3) To complete simple tasks upon request.
We thought those were great goals..and I'm excited to see how it goes this evening..
The moral of the story is.. 1) Don't freak out if your kid has to be evaluated.. 2) Don't freak out if someone offers assistance to help you parent or teach your kid how to learn. I'm smart enough to know I don't know much about parenting.. so if someone smarter and more qualified than me agrees to come help..thats awesome.. and they are coming to my house to help? Even more amazing.. So don't worry too much about things. At this stage they are little people and everyone catches up.. Its hard to learn how to be a little human! So give them a break..they will catch up..
If other parents are telling you how "Advanced" their kids are.. its just to make themselves feel better.. Because I'm pretty sure the other Toddlers aren't judging each other for not knowing their multiplication tables at this age..