Liam is almost 20 months old and because he is not yet walking we were highly encouraged by a loving friend to have him evaluated by a group here called Shield. So, a nurse came out to assess Liam about a week ago and sure enough, after an hour of evaluation she confirmed that Liam can't walk yet.
Seriously though, she took out a bunch of age-appropriate toys from her Mary Poppins style bag and observed Liam as he eagerly interacted with her and the student nurse that had come along for the ride. They were quickly taken by his smiley charm and bubbly personality. He did everything they told him to do (fed the baby doll, pulled himself up in order to fetch the doll from the sofa, stacked blocks, put the blocks in a cup and poured them out, etc.) except for stand and walk by himself. After Liam helped her clean up, the nurse told me she would fill out the paper work, send copies off to us and our pediatrician and then refer him on to the Early Childhood specialists in our school district who will also come out to assess him and then, assuming by that point he hasn't climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro already, they will send out a Physical Therapist to get him up to speed.
The nurse wanted to also make me aware that while Liam is working hard learning to walk, we might notice that he stops talking so much.
Uh, right....I'm not sure if she noticed but he really doesn't talk much to begin with. I mean, we would be hard pressed to notice if he stopped doing something he didn't do yet but hey, I'm not the nurse.
Be assured though, Liam has made great, um, strides this last week in the gross motor department. For example, he will now take a few steps by himself in order to be rewarded with tiny marshmallows. Although this might sound like I am taking a more primitive or perhaps dog-training approach, it's actually beginning to seem quite appropriate. Just the other day, when I put Liam down on the ground at one of Aidan's soccer games, a little girl came up and asked: "Can I pet him?" Amused, I said sure and then assured her he doesn't bite...usually.
So, because he is so small and because he is lagging behind in both verbal skills (as compared to chatty Maddie at this age) and gross motor skills, everyone and their mother tries to help him along. The best example of this happened on the way to church last week. Kurt's mother was in the back seat with the kids trying to get Liam to repeat the words she said. The conversation went like this:
"Say 'car' Liam," she said. "Liam, say 'caaaar.'"
"Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee," Liam said, almost as if he were on a roller coaster.
"Say 'car' Liam, 'car,'" she repeated.
"Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh," he said, cheerfully pointing out the window. (I am sure he was pointing at cars...)
"Liam, say 'Mama,'" she said. "'Mamamamama."
"Ahhhhma," he said, looking at me.
Then my mother-in-law said, "Good, now say..........oh my gosh I can't believe the trees are changing colors already!"
I laughed till the tears rolled down my face and about flooded the car. But perhaps you had to be there....And although Liam might not be able to talk yet, if he could, I'm guessing he would have replied with something like this: