"Ooooh, look at that belly!" Dave jokingly said to Max the other day, after he'd downed a man-size breakfast. Max has put on a few pounds and when he eats a lot, his stomach protrudes. It's partly because the muscles there are slack from the cerebral palsy, but mostly, this boy likes to eat.
Max always laughs when Dave says this, and we've thought nothing twice of teasing him about his food baby. Until the other day, when we stopped by a cafe to grab some afternoon coffee. On the way out, a large guy was seated on a bench. Max walked up to him, gestured at his stomach and said "ig!"
He meant "big!" but there was no mistaking what he'd just said.
Ohhhhhhhhh. M. G.
I thought fast. "He's saying that he wants to be a firefighter when he's big!" I said, completely plausible since Max was wearing his Fireman Max firefighter hat. As Max started to repeat himself, I smiled at the man and hustled Max off.
In the car, we talked about how it was not OK to tell someone their belly was big, because it could hurt their feelings. That people's bellies come in all sizes. And that Daddy and I were just joking with him when we talked about his belly after he ate. Max's social development skills are still emerging, and he (evidently) didn't yet get what's wrong with commenting on someone's size.
It also seems that he's arrived at the stage where if you say something to him, he might unintentionally repeat it in an inappropriate way. Sort of like when Sabrina was little and a friend of the family gave her a doll as a birthday gift that she already owned. "That's OK, we can give it to someone else," I told her. The next time she saw that friend, who asked how she liked the doll, she informed her, "Mommy said we can give the doll to someone else."
Max may not yet be up to speaking in sentences like that, but he can communicate plenty well in other ways. He is definitely up to spelling out all sorts of words on his iPad speech app. Like, "You're bald." (He hasn't. Yet. But if ever decides to add an "insults" tab, I will require therapy.)
I wasn't sure Max completely got what we were saying, but yesterday morning, I knew for sure he didn't. Because he came into my room as I was dressing, looked at my stomach and said "Big!"
Ohhhhhhhhh. M. G.
I explained to him that my stomach had gotten bigger after I had babies. (Explaining my love for cheese would have been too much to get into.) Again, I explained that it wasn't nice to tell people their bellies were big because it could make them feel sad.
He pointed to my stomach, cradled his arms and rocked them back and forth. Read: Do you have a baby in your belly?
This is going to take some time.