Friday 26 August 2011

Nearly three

As ever, it's been ages since I last wrote anything Jake or cleft related on this blog. I've got a little photo / video idea up my sleeve, but other than that this blog has been neglected.

Again, it's symptomatic of how little Jake's ex-clefts affect us. I do worry about the future from time to time but probably no more than every other parent does.

I've mentioned before that I don't see Jake's lip any more. Well I see it and yes, you can tell he's had an operation bit it's just his face, so I'm not objective, I'm too close. It's only when I see him in a mirror or a photo maybe that I properly see it. Not that 'it's' anything major, but it's there and he'll need at least one more op on the lip before he starts school in a couple of years.

From a speech point of view, Jake's pretty good, his vocabulary is great and he's becoming more and more confident in sentence construction all the time. And he does actually listen and attempt to repeat the words we say to correct him. That's about the only time he listens though! I don't spend too much time surrounded by others his age to compare but Clare seems happy enough. We've got another trip to the speech therapist in a month or so and we'll let her assess him fully. The main thing is that they need to make sure that air isn't escaping through his nose when he talks - they hold a mirror below his nose to do this as he talks - as that would inevitably give the nasal twang which is associated with poorly repaired clefts. Not as pronounced as when a deaf person speaks, but different enough to cause potential issues.

As Jake was born in September, he won't go to 'big' school until he's five. Whilst Clare might disagree, I'm actually pretty glad. For cleft and non-cleft reasons. Firstly it'll give him an extra six months to a year to get good at the things you do first at school...some four year olds, for example, will struggle to stay awake or might wet themselves...and it means we have another year to get his speech as good as possible, have the lip operation and generally grow up a bit. I pray it isn't, but school might be tough for Jake. Again, just as it might be for any child but kids can be cruel and I'm dreading the day he comes home and tells us he was picked on because of his lip. It may never come but it'd be naive of us to pretend it's not a potential scenario at least. And that means talking to him about it all before any such situation should arise. Jake's cousin, who's nearly 4, asked why his lip 'started there' whilst pointing at his scar last week...she didn't mean it as anything other than a general question but it shows that, even at that age, they are aware of differences. Apparently it's not until they're 7 or a bit older that they start using differences for more malicious purposes.

With this in mind, it'll be important that we talk to Jake and explain it all. Not yet but over the next year or so, so he can see it as no big deal but also that he's been pretty tough to withstand operations at such a young age. Give him the headsup that kids can be cruel and what to say if someone takes the piss. To not prepare him and have his teachers call us in as he's been fighting over it would be more cruel than those calling him names. Equally I think it's important he's sporty...whatever else happens at school, the jocks will always enjoy an elevated position. Even the thick jocks get respect (not that expecting Jake to be thick!)...the acceptance that having a decent right foot or the guts to chuck yourself into a tackle, affords you can carry you all the way from primary school to university. It's like the funny guys who could outsmart the bullies and always got through o.k. Ridiculously, just being clever wouldn't help. How unfair and crazy is that!

Lastly, my main goal is to form a friendship and bond of trust with him so he feels he can tell me anything, good or bad. The stories you hear about cyber bullying are chilling. I know each generation bemoans the next for having it too easy and far too many mod-cons but I do think it's particularly true of Jake's. O.K, so 30 odd years ago I grew up with a VCR and the first Atari, but we still went out on our bikes all day, no mobile phones (you've seen the email viral)...this new generation is uber savvy, perma-connected and there's very little room for innocence. It seems a shame but I suppose there's progress to consider. I'm just glad, I've got a decent handle on it so that when that awful day comes that he asks me for a mobile phone I'll be prepared for what to look out for!

Anyway, that's it for now, I'll post my video montage just as soon as I get round to producing it.

I can't believe the boy will be three in two weeks.

1 comment:

Cleft lip and palate surgery said...

It's good to hear that your baby has been improving. From his looks to his speech. I hope that he will grow up to be a healthy, good and loving boy. All the best.