H is for hallelujah!
H is for hip, hip, hooray!
H is for hell yeah!
Oops. Probably shouldn’t utter that last one out loud, not in light of what happened.
I picked up Philip from Grandma’s house on Friday. I made a couple of stops on the way there from work, so I was in a hurry. However, I did take time to listen to a heartwarming story.
After a horrendous, never-seen-worse day at work, Grandpa came home. Philip was there. He said to his grandson, “Philip, I need a hug.”
Philip hustled over and supplied a huge hug.
How awesome is that? I was so choked up, I gave my dad a hug, too.
However, that is not nearly as awesome as the other thing that happened.
Grandma was reporting on her day with Philip. They enjoyed preschool story time at the library, went to see some horses, ate a hearty lunch, and then filled the rest of their afternoon with writing, drawing, playing and napping.
“Philip wrote an H,” she told me, “and it sounded like he said ‘h.'”
“Hmm,” I mumbled, not really convinced. I thanked her for helping with Philip and we went home.
As I drove, I felt like a horrible mom. Shouldn’t I be jumping for joy? Shouldn’t I have complete faith in this story? During the autism screening this spring, the speech pathologist had recommended that we assign meaning to any vocalizations that approximate words and then reinforce their use. But three years of hearing “da da da” hundreds of times in every context except when Philip is interacting with Dadada has dampened my enthusiasm. While we have been excited with the increased amount and variety of babbling over the past year, it is still babbling, often just a means of stimming, undertaken regardless of whether someone else is in the room or not.
Philip hasn’t said “hi” at preschool lately. Of course, I never heard him say it, I can only rely on what the staff reported. Over the summer I did hear the occasional “Uh-oh” in appropriate situations. Other times I think Philip has uttered “one, two, three” but not when he is counting something. This is why I hesitate to believe Grandma’s story. Unless I witness it myself, I just can’t believe. I’m afraid to believe that our four-year-old son is no longer non-verbal.
Does that make me a heel?
The next day, Philip was drawing shapes and writing letters with markers, humming and vocalizing. He wrote an uppercase H on the page.
“H,” I said out of habit.
“Eyetch!” he replied.
I guess I’ll have to eat my hat.
He drew another H. I said “H,” and he echoed, looking me in the eye and smiling.
Give my boy a hand!
“Did you hear that?” I called to my husband. Of course, by the time Peter arrived, Philip had moved on to drawing triangles and spirals. Poor Dadada missed our son communicating not in pictures, not through actions, not in behaviors but in language.
Oh, the humanity!
I saw my mom the next day.
“You were right,” I happily admitted. “I heard Philip say, ‘h.'”
“I thought so,” she said humbly.
Today, I am thankful that Philip said “H.” I am thankful that he not only formed the sound but he also used it in connection with the written letter. And he said it to me instead of randomly vocalizing to self-stimulate.
Philip communicated verbally.
H is for hope.
Note: Thursday, March 20, 2014 is the United Nation’s International Day of Happiness. I think this post is a good fit for the theme, so I’m sharing it once more on Facebook, on Twitter and also at Laura of History of a Woman’s Throwback Thursday link-up!