Tonight I sat down to write my blog, and I knew exactly what was on my heart but it felt so heavy and personal that I needed to protect it. I racked my brain thinking of another topic to share but I was thinking of nothing else. It is not like me to have a “secret” because I am really an open book. I love to share all of my experiences from the happy and sad to the failures and victories. I have never been a very private person and tend to blurt out all my innermost feelings when even a stranger asks “How are ya?” I am not entirely sure why I don’t feel like sharing with you today, but I think it’s because I am feeling very insecure and this makes me fear judgment. I am going to tell you what is on my Mommy heart anyways.
Lately my youngest son, Corbin, who turned two years old in December has been struggling with temper tantrums that generally leave us both sobbing by the end. He is dealing with a tirade of emotions, and I feel powerless to ground him, make him feel safe, or correct unhealthy behavior.
I consider “the Terrible twos” and am no stranger to the challenges of toddlerhood, and so I try to keep it all in perspective – but in Corbin’s case, it seems excessive. Most have encouraged me to look deeper into Corbin’s irritability, and my Mother put it very simply and said “When I ask this question just answer with how you truly feel: Do you think something is wrong?” My answer fell out of my mouth and shocked me “yes.” Some say that it’s just his personality and that his tantrums are “normal” – to that, I say, “Yes, so is obesity, divorce, poverty and death.” Normal means nothing to me, and I don’t much care for people using a meaningless word as a gauge for my parenting. I’ve become a little agitated with some of the unsolicited advice that Corbin’s public tantruming has brought on, and I try to remember that people only want to help. If you want to help me give me a coffee, I already have enough advice.
During Corbin’s recent doctor visit, I shared some of my mounting concerns and, based on Corbin’s behavior and things I shared, the doctor encouraged me to contact Early Intervention to have Corbin evaluated for any speech delays or sensory issues. She explained that it couldn’t hurt, and if they didn’t think there was an issue they would let me know. But if they did think there was an issue, then it would be in Corbin’s best interest to be able to work with trained therapists to provide him with the tools to better navigate through his big emotions.
WOW! That just blindsided me. I have to admit to having been very critical of Early Intervention because I believe that children learn and grow at their own pace and that saying a two year old is delayed just because they can’t say 20 words on their birthday, or that they have a disorder because they act differently goes against everything I hold true. I don’t believe we should look for a cookie-cutter society where we dictate what is “normal” and force every child to follow suit. I believed there were many children who benefited from Early Intervention and many disorders that I deemed a legitimate reason to reach out to this resource, but I must admit that I judged others when I did not believe there was due cause. So here I was, faced with the same decision I had so casually judged in the past. Every theory I held to be true vanished when I looked in to my son’s tearful eyes and I searched my heart and, despite my deepest urge to deny, my Mommy heart said “something is wrong.” It crossed my mind that someone might meet with Corbin and say his behavior is merely due to my permissive parenting style and he needs firmer boundaries and, for a moment, I thought of how I might feel embarrassed to have overreacted, but I have a responsibility to my child that is more important than my ego. I have been praying that this is the outcome. I would love nothing better than to hear that he is simply misbehaving and it’s time to lay down the law.
I felt an overwhelming feeling of anxiety before calling Early Intervention. I don’t know these people, they don’t love my child, and I don’t want strangers who don’t hold the same values as I do being involved in something so sensitive. These were my internal thoughts brought on by my lack of trust in people in general. Getting past my own fears to take a step that I had logically decided was best for my child was no easy feat. In the end I prayed, “Please don’t let this call go through if it is not best for my child.” This brought me a peace bigger than myself. I let go of the reins I was gripping, the fear that was controlling, and I grabbed onto love. A love for my child, a love for the world, a love that told me that I was right where I needed to be doing exactly what I should be doing. I made the call.
Well someone called me back and said someone else would call me next week. So that is that, and here I am eating my words, which have become a part of my regular diet these days. I can tell you that I have learned something very deep and personal in this, which is: Do not judge or you too will be judged. In the past, I had acted as if mothers had become impatient with their children and simply dropped them off for an adjustment demanding “make my child normal.” I thought because I had showed patience with my older son, allowing him to reach milestones at his own pace (some early, some later than average), that I knew so much about how to cultivate an environment of growth for my children. Then there I was seeing through the eyes of a mother who loves her child and cannot connect with him in a way that lets him understand the security of that love, and I had to say “Help!”
My son’s doctor has also scheduled a food allergy test for him, and I am going to the library tomorrow to seek out some suggested reading material. I can tell you that I have a very dual perception on all of this. I mock myself, and feel the urge to shrug my shoulders and say “That’s Corbin for ya”. But…when I see those big blue eyes storming My Mommy heart says, “I will help you!”