without a definite route

leo the late bloomer

on December 10, 2008

do y’all know this book?


it is about a tiger named leo who is behind his friends in reading, writing, drawing, eating neatly and speaking. his father is concerned, but his mother isn’t. she knows that leo will do all of those things and more when he is ready. she explains that leo is simply a late bloomer. and then, in his own good time, leo blooms! this makes everyone really happy including, of course, leo.

aunt laura got this book for emmit right after he was born because it was one of her favorites as a child. little did we know that emmit would be a late bloomer like leo. it is a fantastic book. the art is fun and colorful and the message that we’re all different is simple and well presented. emmit enjoys identifying the animals and making the sounds they make.

i enjoy it on a completely different level. for me, it is therapy. it doesn’t matter how many times i read it, it makes me a little weepy. it gives me hope and it freaks me out at the same time. just like leo’s dad, i need leo’s mom’s assurance that the blooming will happen.

i don’t really talk a lot about emmit’s evelopmental delays other than to report, from time to time, on his super awesome progress.  the truth is that i am often filled with anxiety, which it is hard for me. i am not the kind of person who worries about little stuff, but this is a whopper. mostly, i can handle it. i’m his mama so a healthy dose of worry comes with the territory, but sometimes, sweet jebus, i have a hard time believing that emmit is actually going to communicate like a normal kid.

it is one thing to hope that emmit will bloom, it is another to believe it. most of the time, i am able to be patient, like leo’s mom, and trust the people who work with him, but sometimes i freak out that he’s not going to catch up.

i don’t like writing this because admitting it out loud seems weak and negative and if i put my concerns out into the universe, they might come true, but it is hard for me to keep it to myself. i need to own my fears. i need to talk about it, but i worry that i should be positive for everyone else. sometimes i need leo’s mom to tell me that emmit is going to bloom.

at this point, i must point out that emmit’s pre-school teacher feels very sure that emmit has what she calls a “good old fashioned delay.” she thinks he is probably a year or so behind other 3-year olds, which feels about right when i watch him with his 2-year old cousin, solomon. every day he comes home from school with new words and new concepts (he conjugated a verb this morning! he went from: “jasper cry.” to: “jasper crying.” neat, right?). his doctor and his therapists (speech, occupational, physical, developmental) have all said that they feel confident that he will catch up. still i worry. my goal is  to let go and trust those wonderful people in emmit’s life who know what they are talking about and who love our boy.

all of this – and, wow, it feels kind of good to get it off my chest – is just to say that i love that damn leo the late bloomer book (thanks aunt laura!). when the worry threatens to overwhelm, i go straight to it. and i look at emmit and think about how far he’s come and how neat he is. and sweet. and funny. and smart. and loving. and dorky. and constantly blooming. and perfectly perfect in every way.

by the way, the book ends with leo saying, “i made it.” i love that part.







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