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Elements... Elephants... What?!

April 3, 2013 - Jennifer Brookens
"What we have here is a failure to communicate!"

I find that line comes to my head a lot when it comes to dealing with my son. Having a developmental delay, he has a hard time expressing himself although he's improved from just screaming at us every time something is "off." For example, he's learned to ask us to "play" when he wants our attention instead of just jumping up in our faces or head-butting us until we get out of the chair and go after him. However, he will still revert to that if we don't respond to his request quick enough.

But then there's the speech. Again, he's improved greatly, but still has some pronunciation issues. It came front and center yesterday afternoon to a point that almost left us both in tears.

"Where's my alamants," he asked.

Alamants? What's alamants?

"Do you mean ornaments?" I asked after repeating his pronunciation a few times. "NO!" he shouted back angrily. "My elamants!"




"NO! Mom, my alamants! You took my alamants! Why'd you take my alamants?!"

"How can I take them if I don't know what they are?!"

I was going crazy trying to think of what toy, TV show character, or what could be like elements, ornaments, or whatever he was referring to. Meanwhile, he was tipping over toy boxes, accusing me of taking away his "Elamants." He wasn't in melt-down mode. Yet. But I knew if I gave up on him, it would send the wrong message. So I kept trying, and remained clueless. I asked what color was it? Did he ever take it to school? Could it be in the van? At Gramma's house? Anything to trigger a clue as to what he was talking about. Nothing was helping.

I think both of us were near tears when Daddy came home, and I asked The Boy to tell Daddy what he was looking for.

"Oh, your ambulance?"

AMBULANCE! Why didn't I think of that?! And didn't he just see an ambulance go by right before he started asking for the infamous "alamants." With that in mind, I found the beloved ambulance in a toy pile in less than a minute's time. As I cleaned up the rest of the spilled toys, I started wondering if maybe it was me who had the problem. Did I need to follow my own advice and get the space cheese out of my ears, as I so often said to the kids after I'd repeated myself five times to do something with no reactions.

Then my little guy came in and said, "Thank you for finding my alamants, Mommy," and gave me a hug. Then he head-butted me in the gut for good measure.

Ah, the joys of motherhood.


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