I should have known by now to never worry about Charlie. You know how there's a range of normal for every baby milestone? It seems like that, with every new baby skill, he puts it off until the very last possible moment. Clearly, Charlie is not in a hurry.
We had his 2 year checkup a few days back. It was two months late because of all the Medicaid drama. As of that day, Charlie said ten words, and that's only if you count 'uh-oh!' as a word. Sure, he'd mimic just about anything if the mood struck him right, but he only used ten words independently.
The doctor said not to worry, that sometimes it took a little past the second birthday to really pick up. He said a lot of mothers come in at the 24-month mark concerned and that, by the 26-month mark, they're wondering when the kid is ever going to stop talking. I pointed out that he was nearly 27 months old and the doctor decided to check his hearing.
Having his hearing checked was really creepy. First of all, the guy who was running the test reminded me of the weirdo detective on Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. The guy played by Victor D'Onforljoisxjzo. He has me sit in a little booth with Charlie on my lap, trying to get him to pay attention to this bug-eyed turtle. Odd Guy goes out of the booth and stares at us through the booth with headphones on. He makes little white noise fuzzy sounds happen at speakers in the right and left corners. When Charlie looks at one, the guy pushes a button that makes a little stuffed animal play a drum set while a light blinks. It's really freaky.
Once Charlie looks and the bear plays it's beat, I'm supposed to get Charlie to look at the turtle again. Then the guy plays the noise on the other side and this time a different stuffed animal in a glass-enclosed box comes to life, playing a miniature drum set. After about five minutes of this, Charlie is pointing at the animals, commanding "DRUM!" and so the guy gets the puppy in the box in front of us to bark.
The only directions the guy had given me were, "Keep him focused on the turtle. Ignore the puppy. Do NOT draw his attention to the puppy."
I have read quite a bit of horror in my life. I usually avoid the movies because they're insanely cheesy, but there are few Stephen King books that I haven't read. Some of them I've worn to pieces. When the dog barked and Charlie looked at it, the man's warning started going through my head and I began feeling very paranoid because my back was to the door of this sound-proof room.
When no Psycho shower scene ensued, Charlie's focus went back to the googly-eyed turtle.
Then I began thinking back to my psychology class in college and how we had to volunteer to be a subject in 2-3 experiments a semester. I started wondering if there was a second person out there watching the guy watch us in the box. Or if they were really watching me to see how long I would sit on a stool with a two-year-old in my lap, getting excited over this damn turtle and trying to avoid the puppy and cheering every time the animatronic bear clanged its high-hat cymbal.
Then Charlie got REALLY distracted, so Odd Guy started whispering through the mic. "Char-leeee. Charl-ie. Look over here Charlie."
I just knew we were going to be eaten.
Within a few minutes, however, we were out of the box and I was told, as I suspected, that Charlie's hearing is Just Fine. The doctor said that he would refer us to ECI for speech testing if we wanted. I said it was best to go ahead and check it out, as he is getting very frustrated and angry with his lack of communication skills. Still, I figured it best that that we get through Melody's surgery first, then call them.
I'm glad we waited. In the past week, he has exploded with all the things he had to say. He's finally starting to put two words together and communicate his needs without tantrums. His favorite new phrase? No way. Endearing, isn't it? Being told "NO WAY" by a 23-lb child that you still-somewhat-recently gave birth to? Still, it's better than throwing everything in sight, and biting and hitting when you can't explain what you want.
It's amazing how you want them to walk and talk, then, as soon as they do, you just want them to sit down and shut up.