I am sure some of you noticed that there are a lot more quotes from Benjamin than from Matthew, here. Of course, Benjamin’s age plays a role in this, not to mention the fact that he is rarely not talking. However, there are other reasons.
Matthew was speech delayed and he was almost three before he really started talking. He talks a lot now, but he is often very difficult to understand and, unless you have a Matthew-to-English dictionary, he can be tough to decipher. We’ve had him working with speech therapists since he was two and they have made a lot of progress with him. He is so different than where he was a year ago and the things he says are so sweet.
That said, there is one quote from Matthew that I will absolutely remember my entire life. It was a little before his third birthday and came on a particularly rough morning. Matthew would speak a word here and there and was almost completely unintelligible. He very rarely put together two words.
Andrea and I were rushing around, trying to get ready for work and the boys ready for daycare. Matthew, still in his pajamas, kept wandering around the living room, looking lost and just crying and whining. As I rushed around, I kept asking him what was wrong and getting more and more frustrated. I felt the tension coming to a head and I finally turned to him and said, “Matthew, I don’t know what you want. You need to use your words.”
He looked up at me, and through his tears, he said, as clear as day, “I’m hungry.” I get emotional even now as I remember that moment. I just stopped what I was doing and ran over and gave him a hug. I then proceeded to give him every single piece of food in the house.
There was so much more behind those two words than just the words. So much importance behind them. They might as well have been his first words and his first steps and his first smile all rolled together, when they really were none of those. It was the first time that we had a clear line of communication with our little boy. There was no deciphering tears and moods and looks. It was the end of a long period of frustration for all of us…For Andrea, for Matthew, for myself and even for Benjamin.
And the thing is, he got it, also. The flood gates opened up for Matthew. It seemed like he realized that power of his words and he started speaking so much more after that and he has been so much happier since then. Benjamin has always been a very happy child and for a while, it seemed Matthew was going to be the opposite. After that moment…after those two words, he became so much happier. It was an amazing transformation.
The one downside is that now, whenever Matthew wants attention, he says, “I’m hungry,” even if he just ate or already has food in front of him.