15 months

by statia on June 6, 2008

The Mini turned 15 months old yesterday. He had his 15 month well baby check up this afternoon.

I had to wake him up from a nap to take him there, so you can go ahead and ask how the rest of my day went. Or you can assume that it was hell on earth and you’d assume right.

I never really pay attention too much to percentiles, mainly because I think they’re a shit way to stroke parents egos and make other parents feel invalidated somehow. As if it’s their fault their kid “falls short of the mark.” My personal opinion is that, if they’re happy and healthy and thriving, then really who cares. The Mini is taller, lankier and has a bigger head than last time. That’s basically the long (no pun) and short of it.

Of course there were also shots involved, which never gets easier to watch. Especially now that he’s got that cry where he doesn’t breathe and turns the deepest shade of purple I’ve ever seen.

We’ve held off on getting him his MMR vaccine. Some of my friends think I’m being paranoid, which quite frankly, I don’t fucking care. I don’t necessarily think that MMR causes autism, otherwise we’d all be walking around like Rain Man, but I definitely feel as if there’s a genetic disposition to it, or if there’s subtle signs of autistic behavior, vaccinations might not be the best idea. And that’s my personal opinion, no matter what people say.

And while I don’t think that the Mini has autism in the stereotypical way that most people think of when they think of autisim, I definitely had this nagging feeling in regards to some of his personality traits. And when I mentioned them to the pediatrician, she was mildly concerned (which I only take as far as it’s her job to be concerned , I don’t read into it). He’s a very intense and focused kid, and that could just very well be his personality. I certainly don’t want to put a label on it. I’d like to say that he’s just a little boy and leave it at that. But, he doesn’t consistently respond to his name, he doesn’t explore new things, rather will intensely focus himself on one toy or book for long periods of time. He doesn’t really have any interest in activities when we take classes, and he doesn’t really pay attention to other kids. Again, this could just be him, or this could be a lot of kids. I have no basis for comparison, since he’s my only kid.

He’s been saying “car” over and over and over again for months now. He does have other “words” but new ones are few and far between, which our pediatrician said was normal. He still won’t say mama, (doesn’t pronounce the m sound), but shit, will that kid say dada. And if I said it didn’t break my heart, I’d be lying.

We’ve gotten the number for early intervention and have to keep an eye on him for the next few months to see if this is just him, or if this is something bigger.

At the end of the day, I don’t care if he has “autism” in the sense that I think it’s the end of the world. Do I want a “normal” healthy little boy? Of course, but more than that, I want a kid who lives a happy well adjusted life. Not one with a stigma hanging over his head. Given that I grew up having ADHD and it was swept under the rug, that’s not my intention. I just don’t want him to have to go through life feeling as if he’s a freak.

You know, unless that’s what he wants. And knowing my kid? That’s what he’ll want.

{ 15 comments }

Lisa June 7, 2008 at 5:53 am

He might have Asperger’s which is a mild form of Autism. Or he might be saving up all of his words for his 3rd birthday and will then talk your ear off with full sentences. :)

Anyway, (not having kids what do I know) I hope you are able not to worry yourself crazy about it.

Love you!

Kris June 7, 2008 at 6:08 am

My youngest is almost 8 and has Asperger’s. People will say all kinds of things like she’s got ADHD, or is just spoiled and wants her own way, and that she *can* control herself, but chooses not to. Seriously all these people need a smack in the friggin’ head. She had an odd personality when she was a toddler, too.

Funny thing is – she was my more complacent child. Kasia was a much harder baby, but easier kid. Bug (my Asperger’s kid with an insect/reptile/amphibian obsession, hence the nickname) was just the opposite – a dream of a baby and now much more difficult to deal with. (But again, that’s the Aspie, OCD, and Sensory Disorder traits in her).

We didn’t want a label on her either, but when it comes to school it’s the only way they’ll get help (at least in our district). Go as long as you can just teaching him the tools to cope and learn things that don’t come easy. That’s the biggest challenge.

EJW June 7, 2008 at 6:58 am

I think it’s good that you have your spidey-sense turned on, so that you can get any help that might be available, should the need arise.

The things you describe don’t scream autism to me, either. As you know, the range of normal for kids this young is so enormous. I have a mother-baby group with about a dozen moms/babies and the variation is astounding. The kids are all 18-21 months old. One kid says 100 words and one kid says 2. The talker can’t do stairs, another kid is practically hiking the Appalachian Trail. And none of them consistently answer to their name, as the world is just too exciting.

MsPrufrock June 7, 2008 at 7:23 am

P says her own name all the time, but us calling her is ususally met with complete indifference. I sometimes wonder if she has hearing troubles, but then she’ll hear the soft, distant hum of an aeroplane and freak the fuck out shouting “AWAPWANE! AWAPWANE!”, so I know we’re fine there.

I think your perspective sounds healthy. You’re aware enough to not be blindsided, but you’re not assuming the worst. You’re a clever woman like that, and I pat you on the head. Well done.

mel June 7, 2008 at 8:08 am

I agree with msprufrock. It sounds like you have a very healthy perspective and you are doing what you need to do for your family. Fuck what anyone else thinks. You are the mama and you know what is best for your child.

Jenn June 7, 2008 at 11:11 am

At 15 months I don’t think either of mine really said anything. At 19 months I had them evaluated for talking and they tested at 20 months but still didn’t really pick up on language until a few months after that. Nick now talks a lot, but I’m starting to think I may need to get William re-evaluated.

Anyway, doesn’t mean anything, just a few more data points for you.

Pam June 7, 2008 at 3:48 pm

You need to listen to your spidey sense if no one else will and push for everything you want/need for the mini. My cousin’s son, now 16, was diagnosed with Aspergers but probably not until he was about 3. It took them ages to determine the his behaviour (or lack thereof) pointed to this. If you think the mini’s behaviour and actions are “something”, then I know you will do everything you can to determine if it’s something or just his way. :)

jesser June 7, 2008 at 9:37 pm

I’m always interested in the percentiles since I’m 5’0 and my hubby is 6’0 and I am curious to see what size she’ll be. Looks like so far she’s leaning towards me. ;) I think it’s smart to space out the vaccinations. I have no idea what causes autism, but spacing can’t hurt. We did the same thing. So … 15 months. WTF?

Christine June 7, 2008 at 10:03 pm

Momma’s intuition is the most important diagnosis on the planet. period. Follow your gut.

electriclady June 8, 2008 at 8:34 am

BG talks up a storm but it’s completely hit or miss whether she responds to her own name. And like I’ve said before, there’s so much variation in kids–I know some BG’s age who don’t walk OR talk yet, but they seem totally fine.

As others have said, you seem to have the right perspective on this–aware, but not paranoid.

erica June 8, 2008 at 11:27 am

It’s always interesting to read your posts since our kids are so close in age. Mine hit 15 months about two weeks ago. He is also behind on teeth (didn’t start till he was 9 or 10 months old, has had 6 for the longest time). Meanwhile I’ve been using the “we’re in the midst of switching doctors” excuse and that’s why he hasn’t had his one year checkup or MMR shots. Other than that I’d probably be worrying about his milestones more except that I’m in the middle of adopting a two and a half year old boy who we’re watching for symptoms of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Anyway, just wanted to say I’m here with you, dealing with molar hell and worrying about MMR too.

Robin Altman June 8, 2008 at 6:36 pm

Thought about the MMR from a child psychiatrist/mom: You can request a thimerisol-free vaccine, and split the vaccines. In other words, give Mini the M, the M, and the R separately (6 months between vaccinations). Plus, you can skip the crap he doesn’t need now, like Hepatitis B vaccine. Talk to your pediatrician about it, if you want. Even docs who research vaccines, and believe there might be a connection between vaccines and autism, think the above technique is pretty safe.
If you ever want a laugh, come visit Shrink Rap at http://www.robinaltman.wordpress.com. Would love to have you!

Lenni June 9, 2008 at 8:45 am

I’ve heard that ADHD or ADD can actually be displayed in children by an intense hyper-focus on any one sense. For my fiance his hyper-focus is sound, he hears every tiny sound and can’t focus on anything else. Maybe this is part of Mini’s intense focus on certain things.

Of course, you would know best – Mama’s Instinct is the best kind of instinct there is, and you know him better than anyone else.

huy June 9, 2008 at 11:36 am

I can’t believe he’s already 15 months.

millie June 10, 2008 at 1:24 pm

How’s his joint attention (ability to triangulate attention with another person on an object)? That’s one of the single best predictors of autism/aspergers. Don’t know if you remember but I spent 10 years of my life studying/researching/working with folks with high functioning autism and/or asperger’s. I’m always happy to talk more offline with you about any concerns or give you more information.

And FWIW (and not giving any assvice or questioning any of your decisions but this is something I know way more about than the average bear), thimerosol has been out of all US-based children’s vaccine since 2001 (and even longer in Eurpoe).

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