Our Yes Man

Big T doesn't cry  Last summer, Timothy was on a kick where, if you asked him a question, he would respond by shaking his head from side to side.  No words, but his emphatic shake of the head said it all.  I called it his ‘Dr No’ phase.

But recently, he’s started saying the word ‘yes’ (or really he says a quiet, super cute ‘esssssss’ – like leaky bike tire) to give you an affirmative response when you ask him if he wants a book or food or anything to avoid sleep.

He’s got to be one of the first kids in history to say ‘yes’ before he says ‘no’.

t and cat 2  t and cat


Around the turn of the century, when our now teenage girls were little, I remember talking with parents whose kids couldn’t get to sleep at night, and one of the tricks that they told me was driving the kids around at bedtime.  I found it a little funny, and was pleased that we were such good parents that our kids had developed good sleep patterns and rarely required a car.  Fast forward to today, and Timothy has recently not been going to sleep easily.  Fortunately, I’ve matured and have seen the light that an automobile is a valuable part of the parental tool kit, and so we’ve started trying to address the issue the American way – by sometimes taking to the open road after dinner.

I was taking Timothy for one such sleep ride recently on a freeway near Minneapolis.  With Timothy sitting in his car seat and showing no interest in sleep, I glanced to my left and caught a glimpse of a brother at work — a young father driving with his toddler.

I could immediately tell that he was engaged in the same struggle as me, because he had that zombie dad look, knowing that he had at least another 30 minutes of circling the city, like an airplane on a holding pattern.

Like fellow pilots in flight, our eyes met, we exchanged a knowing nod of respect, and then each continued on our separate paths.

t and lt and l surprise


Our Easter egg hunt this Spring was a two step process:

*Step One consisted of Timothy trying to find the Easter eggs.

*Step Two consisted of us trying to find the Easter eggs that Timothy had found and had subsequently thrown to the ground.  (note:  after finding an egg, Timothy was like an NFL quarterback– he got rid of that egg so quickly that we couldn’t stop him)

A few of those colored eggs were a little worse for the wear after Timothy got ahold of them.  Maybe T just didn’t appreciate them trying to hide from him.

easter eggs


Speaking of fragile things, a few weeks ago at school, Timothy and another boy attempted to ‘hug’ one another in the gym and TRBL got the wrong end of the hug and wound up falling backward and bumping his head on the floor.  Timothy was just fine, but the school was rightly concerned about injuries and a report was sent home.

The report was thorough in explaining the particulars of the boy hug and its aftermath, but a comment in the ‘first aid section’ made us chuckle — that ‘ice was offered but was refused’.

We laughed as we imagined TRBL waving off the well meaning first aid.

t in gym  t in gym 2

Fast forward to last weekend.  Only in our family would sidewalk chalk be a contact sport.  But after Timothy and Catherine had finished negotiating chalk colors and sidewalk real estate, T stumbled and bumped his forehead on the ground.

After a little cry, he was just fine, and with a little red bump to show for it.

Ice was offered but was refused.


t in sweater with glasses 1-15

We visited with a speech specialist recently about using an ‘augmentative device’ for communication.  It’s an iPad that helps kids who are non verbal or who are having trouble with spoken language to be able to communicate.

It reminded me of a doctor visit when Timothy was just a few months old, when the doctor told us that Timothy was developing well, but gave us a caution about child development.  He said, ‘Some kids seem to be developing well, and then for some reason they reach the time to speak and they just don’t.’

At the time, it struck me as odd, but certainly not something we needed to worry about. But as we sit here today facing that possible scenario, it’s a good time to revisit history…

t lying on sidewalk

When we found out that we were pregnant at age 46 (correct, no typo there), and we were told that our baby very likely had Down syndrome.  Though we knew that we would have the baby, that diagnosis was scary and sad.

But we had a little boy with red hair and Down syndrome, named him TRBL, and it’s been amazing – sometimes hard, often laughing, always learning.

t with bookshelf   t dancing

When Timothy was two days old and was having some colon issues, the doctors talked with us about him needing surgery and then needing to use a colostomy bag.  Though we knew that it might be the best solution, that prospect was scary and hard to imagine.

But he had the surgery (at 5 days old) and it went great, he had the ‘poop in a bag’ for six months and it was a breeze — easier than diapers and probably a good dry run in case one of us needs a colostomy bag in the coming years.

So while the current situation can feel scary — with a little boy who is just not speaking words – we can keep it all in perspective.  We’ll be just fine.

As long as our wee Yes Man limits his spontaneous hugs — or at least starts accepting ice when it’s offered.


The Lees

This entry was posted in Communication, Disabilities, Doctor, Parenting lessons -- Don't try this at home, Sleep and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Our Yes Man

  1. elisaloboneese says:

    I LOVE to read about Timothy’s adventures in life. Maybe you were a writer before Jack, but I didn’t know about this talent of yours. Your stories are a delight to read. It’s certainly one of the many gifts that Timothy inspires in other people. Cheers to you, Laura, Elisabeth, Catherine and Timothy!!!

  2. Deb Pekarek says:

    Hey Lee Clan,

    What a timely post. My little student Annabelle has been speaking in single words all year, primarily understood at school by her para, closest friends, sister and her struggling teacher about 1/2 the time. The past 6 weeks… Language explosion… Often full sentences understood by most. It has been so fun. Sorry I did not miss it with summer coming.

    May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears. -Nelson Mandela

  3. Mary Gerry Lee says:

    Dear Jack,
    I don’t know where you find the time to write this Blog but it is a service to everyone who reads it. It helps all of us to “keep it in perspective” when dealing with life’s little, and BIG, issues…..and that humor will help carry you through some pretty scary times.
    God bless you and Laura and the Girls….and TRBL, of course! XXOO, Mom

  4. Bonnie says:

    Funny, I was just telling one of my kids that I missed Jack and the blog.
    Thanks for a fun read.
    Timothy is my hero.
    All our love
    Auntie Bonnie

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