Well, I'm back! Yesterday we had our first meeting with the speech therapist who will be working with Tank. Krista is young, energetic and all the things that you'd think a successful toddler speech therapist would be. She's also very earnest and cheerful. But I'm trying not to hold that against her.
She did an evaluation in which she showed Tank a page with about five images on it. At first, she asked him to show her the car, the dog, the shoe, etc. Later, she asked him to say the words...."What is that?" She was met with his usual silence. The last part was more along the lines of problem-solving: she showed him a page with a shoe, a tricycle, a spoon and some other things on it and then asked him, "Which one of these goes on your foot?" Tank pointed to his own foot and then, once he got what she was talking about, he did point to the picture of the shoe. He also identified the tricycle when asked which was something you ride on. I was surprised by that, since I've never gauged his ability to identify the purpose of an object. Well done, Tank!
Krista's unofficial opinion was that he would indeed benefit from speech therapy, not because of broad delays, but because he obviously understands far more than he can communicate. She said it's got to be frustrating for him and that therapy can help with that. So, the next step is for Krista to write up her official findings and then the program coordinator will come go over the plan of action with us. After that, we'll start seeing Krista on Mondays.
And I started voice lessons yesterday, too! So, both Tankie and Mama are trying to learn to use our voices. Tank went with me to voice and he was SO OVER it, after about five minutes. We've really got to find a good babysitter, because not everything I do is something that works well with a toddler!
But back to the voice lesson. I didn't know what to expect, since the last time I took voice lessons, I was a teenager and my sister and I went to an extremely hairy dude we secretly nicknamed Chaka Bear. I remember at the first lesson, he had us place a hand on his stomach to feel how he took air into his diaphragm. I can still feel the wiry stomach hair through the fabric of his oxford cloth shirt. Yeah. Good times. So it's no wonder that I waited all these years before trying THAT again. Luckily, this time I have a fun, laid-back surfer chick type teaching me. Nancy plays at our church and also has a regular gig as an entertainer at a local historic eatery/watering hole. She has such a great smoky alto voice!
The first thing we did was figure out where my range was. The way she did that was to ask me to sing "Happy Birthday." So, I did and she immediately picked it up on the piano and followed along. She said most people start "Happy Birthday" in their comfort zone, so that's a good way to get going. Then, she went up a step at a time and had me sing "Happy Birthday" in each key until it got too high. After that, we went down a step until it got too low. Nancy said I had about an octave and a half range and that was good.
One of the interesting things about the lesson was that she said most people who don't sing well make one of two mistakes: they try too hard or they don't try hard enough. She said I fell into the not trying hard enough stack. I told her I always felt like I didn't sing well, so I tried not to sing too loud. Nancy said that makes singing well even harder, because you've got to have that air moving. So, we're going to work on breathing and getting more volume and also on expanding my range. I think it'll be fun. I was stunned when Nancy told me that her mother heard her sing once and said, "Nancy, give it up! You just don't have a voice!" Undeterred, Nancy (who admitted she sounded bad at that time) taught herself to sing. Now, she makes a living doing it...so I guess I'm in good hands!
A friend from church is taking lessons with me. I will have to come up with a nickname for her eventually. All you need to know for now is that she is a total hoot and between me, her and Nancy, there's no way we'll get bored!
Off to more adventures!