Thursday 22 April 2010

Jake, the little genius

Perhaps I'm biased, but I always new Jake would be miles ahead of others his age. When he's taken up a year or two early at school I won't be surprised in the slightest. He's almost certain to excel in everything he does. It's all down to exceptional genes of course.

I think I might be getting a little ahead of myself here. Let me explain. On Tuesday, we went for the next check up with Ann Young (the original cleft nurse who we first met less than a day after the 20 week scan - the scan which precipitated this tome) and the speech therapist. This was a general check up and also the first real chance for the therapist to see how Jake's speech is coming on and to see if any actual therapy will be needed.

We're much more relaxed about everything now and don't really think anything of the cleft's implications much at all. Of course there's still some way to go, at least one more operation for a start and the possibility of bullying etc, but in the main, Jake is just a toddler like any other. So, whilst somewhat blase, we're happy in our ignor-ance of the subject.

Jake's 20 or so words, some perfect, others not really words at all, apparently put him in advance of others of 19 and a bit months. Naturally. His height is similarly advanced and his weight matches his stature perfectly. So, it went well and we left feeling pretty good. The next meeting is 6 months from now and the therapist will hopefully hear him say some of those words...she told us to relax and not try to get him to say stuff - something I am definitely guilty of - but just to read with him, use the flash cards, pronounce the words but not to pounce on any new word he might say and beg him to repeat it. It'll come when he's ready.

A friend of mine had a boy who said nothing at all and when he got to two years old, he started to worry. My friend was pushed from pillar to post and had to fight reasonably hard to find anyone to help...the system seems to deliberately take a similar amount of time to kick in as it does for a child who previously didn't say anything to suddenly decide to talk. The point being that the vast majority of us start talking at some stage and if we don't there will be a pretty serious underlying problem which speech is perhaps the least worrying factor. Jake won't slip through that net though so it's good to know he'll be monitored.

One thing, speech aside, which is worrying me slightly is how others will see Jake when his face grows up a bit more. Aside from a slight Elvis curl in his lip, I think the repair is faultless. You can see something on his top lip but in the main it wouldn't cause you to look twice. One side of his nose has a very small variation on the other but most people aren't symmetrical so it's really no big deal. However any imperfections will surely become more noticeable as he grows and it'll be interesting to see how they affect him and if they give him more of the 'clefty' look that many people associate with all of this. I've said on here before that some repairs look better than others and that some people tend to have that squashed down nose look which might well cause a second look. If he gets that will we even notice? As far as we're concerned Jake is the best looking kid in town and always will be but I don't want our blindness through love and constant contact to veil our perception of how others might see him and the implications thereof. I'm sure he'll be fine and others do see him as we do but I remember being teased about having big ears and my parents always told me there was nothing wrong with my ears, as if to easily detract from my paranoia - I don't want Jake to feel like I did, that my parents didn't understand - it's a big deal when you're 8 years old and your peers are taking the piss. You don't have mortgages and job security issues to worry about but your problems still seem like the most important thing in the world.

This is rambling too much so I will stop but for now it seems like Jake is getting on swimmingly and is still likely to become the genius I always knew he would!

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