Monday, January 11, 2010

It makes a mommy want to poke someone in the eye.

You've all read that my daughter has a bit of a speech issue. It isn't severe, but bad enough to qualify for school speech therapy twice a week. She is blossoming and doing quite well. That is not my issue.

When we were at Kohl's on Saturday, K- was speaking with the lady who was ahead of us in line. The lady commented on how tall K- was and asked her age. She said that she was 6 and just had a birthday.

"Oh! You had a burfday?" :insert old lady cuteness smile:

When a child has a speech issue, please don't repeat back to them what they said to you in the mispronunciation that they said it in. They realize that you are speaking to them in English that isn't proper and therefore think that you are making fun of them. (I'll say that each child pronounces things funny for a while, but K- is obviously old enough to be getting out of that.)

Did K- notice? This time, I don't believe she did. As we were walking back to the car, I did bring it up to my shopping sidekick April. She said that she had noticed it.

There have been times that K- has noticed.

Her cubby-mate at school is a girl that she went to preschool for 2 years with. This is their 3rd year of school together in the same class. One day, she asked K- if she spoke Polish. K- came home crying. The next day, she asked K- if she could speak English. Again, K- came home crying.

When we were breaking down the tables after the Christmas Tea, the kids were playing as the adults were working. One of the 8 year olds was playing with K- calling her "Baby K-," over and over again. As we were pulling out of the church parking lot, I asked K-, "K-, did you notice what A- was saying to you." "Yes mommy. I knew that she was calling me 'Baby K-,' but don't worry, she didn't hurt my feelings."

I may have posted about this before, but I can't recall. It just breaks my heart. I spoke to the speech therapist about it and her resolution was to have K- tell the kids that "they aren't perfect either." As a Christian, telling someone that they aren't perfect either kind of comes across as judgmental (which I'm sure is how it is intended, but out of the mouth of a 6 year old?!) I told her that I didn't quite think that was going to resolve it, but I did speak with K-. I told her that if her friends were having a difficult time understanding her, to go ahead and tell them what she needs to say in a different way, using different words.

Back to my original issue, do we ignore the nice, kindly old lady and consider that she means nothing by kind of not meaning to mock my child's speech problem? I don't want to be snippy (or snarky as I suppose the word would be now) and call her on it, but wow. If she only knew how to a kid who is fully aware of her speech problems and is working on them that speaking back to her in improper English is just twisting the knife slowly.

What are your suggestions?

Smiles in my day:
- Laundry completely caught up and hanging to dry.
- Uniforms all washed, ironed (even the extra shirts), hung in K-'s closet with matched necklaces and tights, ready to be pulled for wearing.
- My neighbor calling so excitedly last night at 10:10 PM. He had just seen a fox run down our street. We live on city blocks with no where for a fox to live. The poor guy is a little displaced!
- Eating on the homemade chicken pot pie for now the third day. Who would have known it would take me and K- that long to gobble it up? No bother! We love it and are happy to have it for the reheating.
- Shopping with April! She was my purchase approver. She found a sweater that she made me try on and if it hadn't been for that sweater that I wore to the 7th grade change-of-school orientation. It was white, long sleeved and covered in quarter-sized rainbow colored hearts. I thought I was so cool. As April put it, that was when everything started going downhill in school. (You see, our town wasn't large, but was split in half until you got to Junior high. They decided to combine the grades one year early, which meant we had to go to the school across town and know that it wasn't our school. Add to the fact that it was the year that both April and I were put in remedial math by our mothers who never bothered to tell us that we were going to be put in remedial math. It was a funky, yucky time and all at the ripe age of 12 when life just starts kind of going out of control anyhow.) She said that if the sweater was going to remind me of that, it had to go back on the rack. I appreciated her understanding!
- Managing to pull together an entire Rubbermaid Tote full of clothes (yes, it was already started) full of clothes to try to sell to the consignment store. Next on the consignment list are games that we don't play. I have to do that when K- isn't home or I hear, "But mommy! I love that!"
- Making a counting to 100 game for K- and she loves it. While she can count to 100 (and beyond, actually), she needs some more help on identifying the numbers that she can rattle off. I printed this off, went through my sewing basket and pulled out a variety of small, colored buttons. I put the chart in a page protector, then backed it with some recycled cereal box weight board. I put the buttons in a ziploc snack baggie and we keep those tucked in the back of the page protector. I'll call off a number for K- to find and she puts a button on it. She loves it. She made me play it with her Sunday morning at 7:30 AM. It is simple, but it takes her where she needs to go.
- Getting many different deals at Kohl's on Saturday. I managed to buy a $30.00 corduroy skirt for $3.00, a $35.00 denim skirt for $13.60, a $34.00 pair of jeans for $10.49, a two pack of cute cotton tights for K- for 96 cents (their original ticket price was $8.00- DEAL!) and a $7.00 Valentine table runner. My in-law's gave me a gift card to buy some pants, but I was able to get lots more with it!

Have a wonderful week!


Rach said...

Kindly old ladies don't get it about kids and speech. Seriously. They forget what it's like to be a kid or to have a kid with some "issue". They see a cute kiddo saying a cute thing and think it's adorable and can't help themselves. It's a shame, no? So, I guess I would just let it go (then again, you're talking to non-confrontational girl here...) if K doesn't seem upset by it.

My heart aches for K for this is such a difficult thing to go through--especially with that dratted cubby-mate. Sheesh.

Excellent shopping this weekend and hooray for April for saving you from the "evil" sweater. ;o) There's nothing like a wonderful shopping buddy. :o)

Meanwhile, my seed list is on its way to you! :o)

Karishma said...

the kids know exactly and precisely what they're doing, but the old lady? not so much. unless she's surrounded by kids she's probably not in touch with gauging appropriate milestones, and probably just thought it was cute and not an actual speech problem. ignore it, but if K actually IS upset about it, just let her in on that little detail... kindly old ladies usually mean no harm, but they often do not realize when they say something that stings b/c they had their own kids so long ago. get all stabby with the kids in her class. that's SO not ok.

Bailey's Leaf said...

Thank you for your advice ladies! You know, I know that the lady meant no harm and I do agree with Karishma in that it has been a million years (give or take a few thousand) since she mothered kids of her own. The kids in class though? That broke my heart.

The kids in class? Though I talked to the speech therapist about it (who went all mama bear about it because someone was making fun of her kids!), she wanted to say something to the teacher and I told her to hold. I also don't want to be that mom, particularly in the light that everyone knows that K- is an only, that runs to the teacher every time something happens. We had the hair touching incident early on that we tried different ways of dealing with, then on the third week, I had to write a note to the teacher.

Giving K- the little secret of the old ladies is something good for her to know. I want K- to be able to stick up for herself, appropriately defend herself and not make others feel like she does on her own. Sadly, though I am mommy, I don't have the super power to be next to her side everysinglemoment. As an only, it's a little tougher. She's affectively using her words and trying to work situations out on her own.

Regarding the speech thing in class, I told her to tell her friends that if they don't understand what she is saying, just tell her. I told her to tell them in a different way, with different words. I also told her to tell them nicely if they have hurt her feelings.

This parenting thing is tough stuff!

Thank you again!

Rach said...

Parenting is, without question, the HARDEST job in the world. Anyone can be a child's friend, but it takes someone incredible to be a parent.

Hang in there!

Michelle said...

I'm sorry K is having to encounter experiences like that :( I think you're handling it well with teaching her how to respond. I know we wish we could shield our kids from cruelty...and unfortunately other kids can just be cruel :( It sounds like K is working hard at her speech therapy and will be confident in herself!