My Day Was Very Quiet

So Monday was My Day.

I took Quinn and we headed back home and I shopped.  I have about a month’s worth of Trader Joe’s whole wheat bagels in my freezer now!  And?  And?  AND????

I got a jar of sesame seed butter.  It’s not peanut butter, but it’s soooooo close.  And for someone who hasn’t been able to eat peanut butter for the last decade and a half?  Heavenly!  I wish I’d bought more than one jar.  And I hope it doesn’t turn on me and start giving me migraines.  I’ve never had problems with sesame seeds before, but I also never had problems with nuts, eggs, soy or dairy before I started getting migraines from them, so who knows?  In the meantime?  I’ll just enjoy it.

Quinn and I also ate a quite late lunch at the Cheesecake Factory (no cheesecake for us, however), but I didn’t call anyone because we were eating so late.  I kind of got a late start in the morning, so by the time I met one friend for breakfast on the way down it was actually more like a late brunch.  It was so nice to meet up with her, though!  It’s the first time I’ve met her kids, and her oldest is Midge’s age.  So, yeah, it had been a while since we’d seen each other.

Anyway, for the whole drive down, Quinn was very quite.  Very, very quiet.  As in, I had to keep reminding myself there was a child in the backseat so I didn’t accidentally leave him in the car to roast to death; had to keep turning around to make sure he was still alive.

I tried talking to him, but he wouldn’t even grunt at me.  Didn’t even want to tell me what sounds the letters make.  He was just the embodiment of complete silence for about 99.5% of that drive.

McH and I saw it in his eyes before I ever pulled out of the driveway.  We took his car seat out of the Suburban and put it in McH’s car, put Quinn in, and he freaked (which for him means he got very quiet and non-responsive; kind of shut down).  It hadn’t occurred to me before, but he had NEVER ridden in McH’s car.  And?  It is a very rare day, indeed, when he goes somewhere without a passel of siblings accompanying him.  So when we buckled him into Daddy’s car without the other kids, he didn’t know what to think.

And I have to wonder if there wasn’t some emotional memory kicking in of the last time he was loaded into a strange vehicle and taken away from all the other kids he spent his days and nights with.  I hate to attribute too much to adoption related stress/trauma/issues/whatever, but based on my experience both as a parent and an adoptive parent, I really think this was adoption related.

Quinn had fun at breakfast.  He still wouldn’t make a sound, but he ate and he smiled and he played on the play place (Yes, McCrap for breakfast, but I don’t mind it when I’m on the road (fond childhood memories, I think); and it was the first time he’s ever played in a play place, and I only let him because it was an outside one, so it at least gets washed off by the rain every now and then, plus it didn’t have a germ ball pit.  All I can think of when I see those ball pits is the french fry grease and boogers than are undoubtedly encrusting each and every ball, just waiting to infect my child with God only knows what.  I HATE fast food play places). 

So what was I saying?

Oh, yeah, so Quinn wasn’t totally shut down, obviously, but he was rather silent, even for him.

The rest of the day went on pretty much the same.  He was happy and smiley, but more non-verbal than normal.

Can I tell you what a great kid he is to shop with?  Seriously.  I’ve never had a two-year-old like this before.  He just goes along with me wherever I’m going with no complaints, no screaming, not attempts to run away, no begging for anything.  This is the way he is all. the. time.  But Monday I got to enjoy even more of it.  I didn’t take a stroller with me (didn’t want to use up the trunk space) and we went to the Really Nice Outdoor Mall (which is honestly, without exaggeration, probably four times the size of the town we live in) and he just held my hand and walked along.

When we were done with the shopping (this has to be the world’s most boring post ever, sorry) we went to my parents’ house for a quick visit.  Quinn has been there many, many times.  My parents have been to my house many times.  He knows them, he’s pretty comfortable with them.  But this time?  Quiet.  Quieter than normal (‘casue he’s always a little more quiet than normal at their house, but not THIS quiet).  He didn’t want to make eye contact with them.  When my dad picked him up, Quinn immediately started reaching for me and whining/crying.

McH and I put two and two together quite a while back and figured out that when Quinn is feeling insecure or overwhelmed he just kind of shuts down a bit.  Back when he first came home, if I couldn’t get him down for a nap, I’d just strap him on in one of the baby carriers and he’d immediately fall asleep.  It was like magic!  I realize now, and have known it for a while, that he was just shutting down totally. 

Tank Boy deals through anger, and Quinn deals through shutting down, whether totally or partially (and really, I haven’t seen him shut down totally for a looooooong time).  So Monday, he just shut down a bit.

This leaves me wondering, and I have wondered it off and on for a bit now, if that’s not the root of his speech issues.  We know he can talk, we know he can do some signs; but he generally refuses to do both.  As happy and giggly and smiley as he is all of the time, is he still partially shut down?  Is he not talking just because it is something he can control?  A part of himself he isn’t ready to trust everyone with?  I don’t know, but I do think it’s a possibility, especially after seeing him react the way he did on Monday.

Oh, I’m still squirting the Nasonex up his nose every day or two (he’s actually cooperative with it now), and I’ll still make an appointment with an ENT (as soon as I find one – we did get a recommendation from someone (thanks!) but that ENT isn’t covered by our insurance; go figure), and once the fluid in the ears issue is resolved I’ll take him for a hearing test (a real one this time, at an actual Dr.’s office rather than the freaking health department), so I’ll cross every i and dot every t, but ultimately I really do think the whole talking thing is just going to be up to Quinn.  He’s going to have to decide he’s ready for it.  Maybe I’m wrong, I know that.  But right now?  I don’t think so.

At our last stop of the day, on our way out of town and back home, Quinn saw one of those end cap displays full of balls.  You know, the colorful playground-sized balls.  He wanted one.  This is the kid who never wants anything at the store, but he really wanted a ball (as indicated by all the pointing and grunting, and HUGE smile when I pulled one out of the bin), so I got him a ball.  He thought he was the hottest thing going with that ball.

And? On the way home?  He sat in the back seat, playing with his ball, saying “Ball.  Ball.  Ball, ball, ball.”  Not for the whole trip, of course, just half a dozen times or so.  So he hears, and he talks.  When he wants to.

And George, if you’re out there, I am being yelled at by a two-year-old who doesn’t want me sitting at the computer.

4 thoughts on “My Day Was Very Quiet

  1. Elaine, Phoebe does the exact same thing when she’s stressed or in any new situation. She shuts down, clings to me like a monkey, and refuses to make eye contact. We know it’s adoption-related and we go with the flow. Once she evaluates what type of control she can have over the situation, she relaxes a bit and may not need to be held anymore, but she never EVER speaks to people she doesn’t know extremely well – which essentially means me, Chris, and the girls. And you already know that her speech is delayed.

    Umm… all that to say… I’m with ya’. *lol*

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  2. So cool that he indicated that he wanted a ball. It sounds like he was pleased you got it for him. I’ve never adopted, but it sounds to me like you know what you are doing.

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  3. I have say that Binh does the same thing. When there are other people around, he clings and doesn’t talk. It’s funny cause I just had a guy from our church stop over for a minute this afternoon (he was picking up $ for my mission trip. That previous phrase sounded a little odd!)and he asked me, “Does he EVER talk?”
    I feel like it takes less time for him to warm up now than it did just 6 months ago. His speech therapy is helping, too, but I think most of it is just “in his head” so to speak. It’s his little thing to control.

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  4. I would have to agree that it’s adoption related- I’m no expert but just sounds like it to me. Glad you had a nice day out and even happier Quinn asked for a ball!

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