You see, my son is verbal. VERY verbal. Dare I say, sometimes TOO verbal (or too honest, we haven't decided yet.) So, we often get, "You're so lucky he is verbal." or "He can talk, that is such a blessing!" Yes, it is. We know it is, and we are very thankful. However, what many don't realize is that, just because he is verbal, doesn't mean he is expressive. (I have blogged on this before, to read it, CLICK HERE)
Yes, he tells us he loves us, prompted and unprompted. He has conversations with us. Mainly about his current obsession. (Beyblades ATM) He tells us what he wants, and what he doesn't, (all too often) and he is VERY opinionated. BUT...... he has a hard time speaking about other things. If he is very upset, or even very excited, he also stutters, something terrible, and it takes him so long to get out what he needs to say, so he often gives up.
If Liam is sick, and you ask him what's wrong he can't tell you. (For two reasons. One, he has a super hero sized high pain threshold, and two, because he can't find the words to tell you what ails him.) His ear drums have perforated before we knew he had an ear infection. (Yeah, parents of the year here!) I take him to the Dr. and they go through the list of questions, and there Liam sits with a blank look because he can't tell them what he feels. (Thankfully his new Ped totally gets this, and directs the questions in different manners to try and evoke replies.)
When Liam is upset, he also can't tell you. He does one of two things. If he is really mad, he flips out. He screams, and cries, hits the walls, and bangs his head. Then he calms himself by rocking and humming. If he is upset because someone has hurt his feelings, he keeps it in. Don't get me wrong, he is a superb tattle tail if a kid is breaking the rules, but when someone bullies him (which happens all too often) he keeps the feelings in. He tells us it happens, but can't tell you much more than facts.
Each time it does happen, pita and I will sit with him afterward and try to talk to him about it. We ask him things like, "Are you okay? How did that make you feel? What did you say? What could you have said?" and so on. We try like hell to get him to express how it makes him feel and he can't. (aside from having a meltdown over it) You see, a child can be horribly cruel to Liam one day, and the next day, if said child comes back, Liam calls him his buddy and is ready to play with him. Liam doesn't hold grudges. He doesn't become jaded. I love that about him, I really do! However, it bothers me that he doesn't learn from it. When said child bullies again, we go through this whole process over. Sometimes, more than 4 times a week. (we really live in a shitty area!)
So anyway, getting him to express how this makes him feel is nearly impossible. Now, this year in school he is having to do short weekly writing assignments. I love this. At first, it was hell, as he fought me so hard, but now, he knows he HAS to do it. He also knows that per his teacher and 504, he can dictate to me, and I can write it. So he is cool with that. It is making him reach inside, and think and express himself in different ways. It is also giving us insight into what goes on his head. Case in point.....
This assignment was the precursor to the actual composition. Liam was to think of 6 animals he would like to be and why. His answers saddened, and shocked us....
He took a simple writing assignment and gave it feeling, his feelings. (a bit to much for this momma as it made me bawl behind a closed bathroom door.) The insight that he has at 7 amazes us. The way he was able to express himself, without realizing it was just awesome! Can you tell Liam is bullied quite a bit? (and sadly, he is bullied at home by neighbor kids, as we home school!)
Now, the next day, he was directed to choose one of these animals and expand upon why he would want to be that animal, and "write" a composition of at least 4 sentences. This is what he had to say....
Again, this is ALL him. His words, his thoughts. I was merely writing what he told me, exactly as he told me. I laughed and I cried over this one. I could still see the feelings of being bullied, but then he also added some facts he knows to be true about dogs. Liam is a VERY fact based child. He has a brain like a steel trap. It holds facts for future use (much like momma's but even better!)
His father and I are so in love with this assignment. We love the honesty, and comedic value to it. More than that, we love how he was able to reach inside, and pull out some of his feelings. He may or may not have realized he was doing this. When I hugged him and told him how much I loved it, he was quite aloof about the whole thing. No matter, he expressed himself. This has been a long time coming. We pray, this is the beginning of a new phase, and that he is finally learning how to get his feelings out. Even if he can't tell us. Even if he has to write them down. The fact that he can recognize or just pull them out, is awesome. With puberty around the corner, this will be a huge help to him and to us!
<3 <3 <3 <3