Jake's Journey with Apraxia

And the Friends We Met Along the Way

Last week I took a blogging vaca because my family and I went to the beach for the Spring Break holiday. I sank into lazy mode pretty quick and spent my week reading, sunning, and playing in the sand. (I love playing in the sand more than my boys do. Unfortunately, their love is tearing down sand creations that I build.)

Jake isn’t a natural lover of the sand and because I’ve got so many facts that cloud my mind, part of me wonders if it’s a sensory issue. Or, maybe it’s as simple as my child doesn’t like the way sand feels and also knows he’s deathly allergic to everything out there in that great big sea.

On the first day at the beach when Jake was begging to go back to the pool, I told my husband that all Jake needed was a friend to show him the ropes. His older brothers were busy playing big boy games like frisbee, football, baseball, and swimming in the ocean. While Jake does like to play with his brothers, they don’t necessarily reciprocate  his enthusiasm. I’m sure you can see where the problem arises.

God heard my prayers because Day #2, sweet little Gabe showed up … a second grader with a heart of gold who had the best sand bucket in the world. After Jake spent about an hour harmoniously playing with him, I complimented his mother on how good her son was with mine. Here’s what made Gabe such a special, compassionate, and patient friend for my baby …

  • His dad had a stuttering problem all through school, but finally beat it.
  • Now his four-year-old sister has a stuttering problem.
  • The babysitter that was traveling with them was a special education teacher in an inclusion classroom.

A special family and a special friend.

Jake would spend the rest of the week anxiously awaiting Gabe’s arrival at the beach so that they could spend hours building volcanos in the sand and his family even invited Jake over one afternoon to have a water balloon fight outside their condo. This story makes my heart smile. It also remedied the hurt I had felt from some girl bullies Jake stumbled across at the Chick-fil-A playground the week before we left for the beach.

I had to rescue my Little Man as tears poured out of his eyes and he screamed repeatedly, “Yes! My is four! My no baby!” The lead bully was in turn relentlessly arguing back, “No! You’re not four! You’re only two! You talk and look like a baby!” Even when I told the Mean Girl that he was in fact four, she still calmly and confidently looked at me, hands on hips, and flat-out said I was wrong. To my face! You know you’ve got a bad bully on your hands when they also bully the parent.

I left the restaurant shaken that day and unsure of how to handle situations like these. Our children are different and friendships do not always come easy. They are quiet, afraid, and not confident with their voices. Thank God for sweet angels like Gabe.

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4 thoughts on “A Special Spring Break

  1. Bridget says:

    Love TMR also!! Just got my book and can’t wait to start reading it!!! And i cant wait for the conference in Denver too! Thanks for this post today. My son just told me today that a girl has been pushing him at school and is mean to him a lot. He is only three and just started in February. I just got done writing my first note to the teacher. I hate that Jake is getting bullied too but thank you for writing about it so that I don’t feel so alone.

  2. Kristy A says:

    I love that a friendship was found and made! What a blessing for your little man and for your Momma’s heart!!! And what an amazing family! I’m pretty sure God was giving you a little extra love after the bully incident. He knew you needed it and was reassuring you that there are wonderful people out there just waiting to be in your life! Yay!!

    My MIL just gave me the book you are talking about and giving away. I can’t wait I dive into it this weekend! So glad it is speaking to you!! Big hugs!!!

  3. Tara from Minneapolis, MN says:

    I started crying as I read this …. I need to find a ‘Gabe’ for my little guy!!!!!!!!! He’s already run into a bully as well and it’s GUT-WRENCHING. We also just found out today that our little girl likely has apraxia as well (she’s 2). I’m heartbroken today in so many ways … so thank you for sharing (yet another) inspirational story for those of us on this path that seems endless and overwhelming …

  4. tstarmom says:

    Tara – Things will get better! So sorry about your daughter’s possible diagnosis. Hang in there! Have you found a new SLP yet? Just remember, my favorite analogy about apraxia … It’s like learning a fancy dance routine. At first you trip over your feet & mess up, but after you practice it over and over again, eventually your feet learn the movements. The final dance comes off as effortless. Just keep working with those kiddos. It’s just practice. When Jake was that age, it took him at least 3 months to learn the “n” sound. I remember just sitting in therapy with my tongue behind my teeth in an effort to beam it over to him. Hand cues taught him that sound – index finger on nose. I know it’s hard though when you see virtually no results when you and your child work so hard. Hugs for you tonight … 🙂

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