A Big Week for Bo!


Bo is fully potty trained!

Okay, he’s barely able to contain the pee within his diaper, but he did have a huge week of firsts and milestones…  I’ll start with the little ones and work towards the big finale.  Bo had his first Thanksgiving – unfortunately, his sister has croup and his mother has some-as-of-yet-unnamed ailment she likely contracted from being sneezed on, drooled on, and kissed repeatedly from previously mentioned sister; so the majority of it was spent without the female half of our little family.  I stayed home with PJ to recuperate, and Scott took Bo to his Aunt and Uncle’s house to play with his cousins and watch everyone else eat turkey.  Come to think of it, I wonder if Scott thought to bring a jar of baby food that has turkey in it so Bo would’t feel left out?  I love doing stuff like that…

**Update**  I just asked Scott about the turkey baby food, and he responded “Of course I did!  What am I, new?” I’m so proud.  It’s the little things, you know?

Now, Bo was surely able to eat that yummy Earth’s Best Turkey Vegetable Dinner with his…… (please insert Bob Barker’s voice a la The Price Is Right here for dramatic effect)……..BRAND NEW TEETH!! Yes folks, Bo has finally gotten his first two teeth!  I know this is a pretty basic milestone that has absolutely nothing to do with his stroke, or Cerebral Palsy, or anything else medical and scary.  But I realize now, that was the pure joy of it — this was just a normal, run-of-the-mill milestone.  It wasn’t a huge unknown in his life that kept me up at night wondering if it was going to happen like walking, talking, feeding himself, making friends, etc.   I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’d be pretty concerned about the teasing he might get should teeth never appear, but I was confident that this one was pretty much a sure thing.   They are adorable, and I love getting peeks at them when he opens his mouth as wide as it will go while waiting for a spoonful of food, or to give me that sweet gummy (surely soon-to-be-toothy!) grin when I go get him from his crib in the morning or after a nap…

And now for the big one: BRRRRRUM BRRRRRRUM BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRUM (it’s a dramatic and yet realistic typewritten drumroll, people!)

Bo said “Mama”.

He said a word.  A real word.  On purpose.

I went in to get him from his crib the other morning, and as usual he stopped crying as soon as I turned on his light and turned off his sound machine (those big sisters next door can be awfully loud).  I walked over to him and he looked up at me, grinned, and said the two syllables that will likely make me melt from that Monday morning in November, until the days he has children of his own.  PJ was sleeping at my parents’ house that night and Dee was going to arrive at 9, so my big plan was to let Scott sleep in and not bother him until at least noon.  That immediately went to hell, so I darted out of Bo’s room, threw open our door, and practically screamed at him “Bo said ‘Mama’!”  He bolted up in the bed in a daze, likely assuming I had poisoned myself, hurt myself, or performed any other number of unlikely-unless-you’re-me injurious offenses against myself; then quickly jumped out of bed and followed me back into the baby’s room when he had finally processed what I had said.  I was now eagerly repeating “Mama”, “Ma”, and “Mamamamama” to a grinning, but once again silent, Bo.  Scott went back to bed a minute or two later, and as if on cue, Bo said it two more times.  Luckily, he has said it at least a dozen more times since then, and in front of people to boot! Otherwise, I think I’d start to believe I could have fabricated it out of sheer hopeful desperation.

You see, up until this point, he had made a few vowel sounds, but we had not heard a single consonant.  No “dadada”, no “lalala”, nothing.  Bo was not a babbler.  I jokingly referred to him as the “strong, silent type”.  He was definitely a big tongue clicker, so I had high hopes that if he ended up being non-verbal, there was still a shot for him to move to South Africa and learn the Xhosa language where he could happily click his little heart out.  Now, things were looking up!  It was a word, and I knew – I just knew – that he was talking to me when he said it.  It wasn’t a coincidence, or matter of happenstance, that the moment our eyes met that morning, he immediately said “Mama”.  I was a puddle.

At the same time, I was absolutely electrified with thoughts, possibilities, and renewed hopes for him that I had previously forced out of my heart and mind.  And then other thoughts took over to dampen my original enthusiasm with reality, probability, and MRI images I had seen of Bo’s brain, along with his Neurologist’s voice telling me that the language portion of his brain had been hit by the stroke along with his motor skills.  I have been playing out this mental volley all week long and it’s getting…exhausting.  I never know which voice to choose to hear and which to ignore – should I listen to the eternal optimist, or the realist?  I’m trying my best to just enjoy listening to Bo discover his voice, but there’s always something holding me back from letting go of all the worry I have attached to his speech.  I’m hoping that over time as Bo hopefully adds to his vocabulary, I’ll find the nagging doubt dissipate  – replaced by the anticipation of his next word, phrase, and then eventually, sentence.

I’m not there yet, but maybe one day I will be.

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