"Hi, baby!" I squealed into the phone, my lips widening into an expansive smile. "I love you!"
"Luh youuu," he replied in his high-pitched voice.
If I knew how to turn a cartwheel, I probably would've done so, right there on the concrete sidewalk in Queens.
"He said, 'Hi, Mommy,' so clearly!" I giddily exclaimed to my boyfriend. "I'm so happy!"
For me, one of the ways I'd measure 2012 would be in the number of words my son has spoken. Every word approximation is a cause for celebration. Every word pronounced clearly is a victory.
Welcome to Part III of this week's post series: How Do You Measure a Year?
Or in times that he cried
I was overwhelmed with joy the first time I heard him try to call me by my title, a title the average child may have been saying since they were eight months old.
For over a year, Equis had called both me and my boyfriend "Daddy."
Even though I became accustomed to responding to the name, it hurt me that my son's speech wasn't developing properly.
In March 2012, a speech therapist had determined that my 19-month-old baby, Equis, had a speech delay. It broke my heart to hear that my son's speaking "zero meaningful words" meant he was "operating at 9 to 12-month-old age level." He should've been able to say at least fifteen words.
I cried that day, blaming myself for his developmental delay, and because I knew I'd have to continue to endure many months of Equis communicating through whining and crying.
But, with the help of Lighthouse International Early Intervention, I've learned a lot since then.
I learned that Equis needed me to look directly into his eyes when I talked and to exaggerate my mouth movements so he could better comprehend the way sounds were made.
I learned that Equis having a space of his own, a table where he could focus on his work (a.k.a. play) could help him advance developmentally.
Most importantly, I learned that Equis having a speech delay wasn't the end of the world.
Throughout 2012, Equis' oral motor skills and mouth muscles strengthened, and ten months later, he can finally say at least fifteen words. Whether or not he says these words clearly, I am ecstatic that Equis refuses to give up on doing his best to communicate with us.
I have to thank Equis' speech therapists and special educator for providing us with the tools we need to overcome this obstacle. I can't wait to hear all of the words Equis will learn in 2013.