Tuesday, April 27, 2010

If Max had more words, what would he say?

I was on a crowded train today and there was a little boy, about three years old, riding with his mom. An elderly gent struck up a conversation with him. Suddenly the kid said to the guy, "You have a big nose."

Everyone on our side of the car cracked up. It is not a usual occurrence to have a car packed with New York City subway riders congenially laughing together; typically, it's just one cuckoo guy cackling to himself as everyone avoids eye contact with him.

"Well, I never knew that about my nose!" the guy said, totally amused, and everyone laughed again.

As I stood there, I started wondering what sort of crazy stuff Max might say if words could easily flow from his mouth. This is not to say Max doesn't communicate in his own way; he most definitely, and gloriously, does. Through words he says, some very clear and some garbled, though I understand him; through signing; through his Dynavox communication device (he has phrases on it; someday, he'll form sentences).

It was just one of those reveries you sometimes have as the parent of a kid with special needs, wondering what another version of your child might be like. They're not sad musings. They're just...musings.

This is what I could hear Max saying:

"Mom, please get me only purple clothing from now on. Including underwear."

"Can we live on the Disney boat? Please?"

"I would like only purple dishes, too. Also, I don't think it would cost a lot of money to paint the house purple, you can use what's in my piggy bank. You can use what's in Sabrina's piggy bank, but maybe don't mention it to her."

"These ugly braces on my feet are cramping my style. Doesn't Prada make DAFOs?"

"Of course I am completely capable of doing the potty thing. I choose not to get fully toilet trained because, well, skip it. It's an existential thing and you wouldn't really understand."


"Sabrina, if you don't stop chanting 'Max likes GREEN! Max likes GREEN!' in that snotty voice, I am not going to do fake-burp contests with you ever again. And by the way, I can burp so much better than you! But not better than Daddy."

"If we can't go on the Disney boat, can we just go on an airplane ride to someplace today?"

"Hey! How much does it cost to buy an airplane, anyway? Could it fit in our backyard?"

"Mom, I know you killed the ladybugs we were trying to breed. I forgive you but please, let us handle the next batch."

"I think it's OK to eat chocolate ice-cream for breakfast. It has calcium!"

"Suck it, Sabrina."

"OT and PT and speech therapy are fun and all, but how about we go out and get ourselves some cold brews?"


  1. Maybe he'd say "Hey Ma, buy me one of these!!!"


    Never underestimate the power of the proper ambiance when taking a poop!

  2. I enjoyed this one. Got me to thinking. I am sure Emma would tell me to pipe down. She might even tell me to get out of her face. She already blows a lot in disgust and aggravation with me. I have even caught her rolling her eyes. If she had more ease with words, God only knows. I might just get my feelings hurt. Kids her age are very blunt, honest, and even brutal.

  3. Crackin' up, Ellen! I can totally see that! I can't even imagine what would come out of Faith's mouth! Something like....Oh, I see mommy putting her bra on...or...Daddy, mommy is on the computer waaaaaay too much!

  4. A mother of a child with a mental illness might be just as hurt by your reference to the "one cuckoo guy" as you are when a cognitively disabled person is referred to with the R-word. Should we be hyper-vigilant in casual speech, or should we accept the fact that one person's off-hand observation is another person's heartbreak? I don't know the answer.

  5. "Suck it, Sabrina"
    LOL I bet he would say that :P

  6. Anonymous, you are right, that was thoughtless of me.
    Felicia, we are BUYING that seat! A big purple "Thank you!" from me and Max!

  7. I totally know what you mean--I try to listen to what other children DO say so that at the very least I know what Charlie's mind might be thinking. Still. . . I do wonder what he would say if he could talk.

  8. I love it. Sadie has so much spunky....who knows what would come out of her mouth!

  9. Love this! I'm pretty sure Isaiah would tell me to stop babying him so much. And that he really doesn't "do" Mondays...

  10. I hope to be where you are someday. IN my present state of mind I would be focusing on what my son can't say. Your post shows there is hope to be in a better place and instead have some fun with it and be in a better place.

  11. He would thank his wonderful Mommy, Daddy and sister for being such a great family to him. In fact, I don't even think he needs to say anything because you can just see the love he has for all of you (yes, even for cutie-pie Sabrina).

  12. Tee heee... suck it Sabrina... I think we all feel that way about our siblings once in a while, it's nice to know you recognize that!
    Also, don't be to jealous Max, Piper has purple AFO's. Just ignore the butterflies ;)
    Great post!

  13. That was great...I really do wonder what my little guy would say if he could! The potty/toilet line was the best

  14. Is it possible to have purple chocolate ice cream?


Thanks for sharing!

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