Susan's Blog

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Serious Talk

The older I get, the more I have adopted the policy of live and let live. This modus vivendi does not apply to government or institutions, of course. No, those must act a certain way that is only to the good of all or most. But for loved ones in my life, I see myself increasingly lenient in letting them be who they are.

Is this laissez-faire parenting? I don’t think so. For the simple fact that my children are (knock wood) upstanding young men and a pleasure to be around. If they were brats, then you would have a case.

What do I mean by letting them be who they are? By now my readers are familiar with my view of Nat, and his right to speak in his own language if it makes him happy and helps him express his emotions (without harming anyone). I hate the term I once gave it: Silly talk. That was neurelitist of me, I see now. Of course we all need for our children to be able to communicate as much as possible in the world, and to learn the ways of the world for obvious reasons: self-sufficiency, or survival. Children have to learn to the greatest extent possible, how to live without their parents. And so we urge Nat to speak, to write, to gesture, to express, to type; whatever will help bridge him to us.

I am working so hard these days on ending my habit of patronizing him. The other day, I had a thought that seared me through my heart: what if Nat really can understand all, not some, but all of what is said to him and around him, but that the problem is only that he absolutely cannot speak, find the words and articulate them? Nat’s teacher is convinced that he does; that his receptive language is truly intact, but that is expressive is the problem. He does everything he is asked to do. Everything he learns in school and at work and at play, he does. He seems to really want to be a part of us, when I think about it.

So if he can understand, but cannot speak in turn, how painful must that be to him? Is it? Is he frustrated? But he would show that, right? What does he go around thinking, about me, about us?

So I absolutely have to stop, stop, stop babying him. Just because his words sound innocent and babyish, it does not mean at all that he is on that level. How could I have been so foolish as to not realize that??

Well. I guess laissez-faire can also apply to me.


“So if he can understand, but cannot speak in turn, how painful must that be to him?”

Very painful. For the same reason, I could not pick up the ring.


— added by K on Wednesday, February 11, 2009 at 8:12 pm

oh, K, I understand. I just wish you could.

— added by Susan Senator on Wednesday, February 11, 2009 at 10:22 pm