Happy Mutti’s Day

For the first time in four years, I had the pleasure of hearing my son wish me a Happy Mother’s Day, or as he says “Happy Mutti’s Day”.

This made me so happy, as did everything the kids did for me today.

In honor of Mother’s Day I am going to re-post an entry I made about Decca and his long journey with selective mutism. Enjoy!

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I have this wonderful son, and his name is Decca. Quite a unique name, but it fits him perfectly because in many ways he is unique. He loves music, the piano, making movies, doing math, and making people laugh.

He is defined by all these things. But he is also defined by many as the boy who does not talk. You see Decca has selective mutism, and he is so terrified by many situations that he deals with this anxiety by not talking.

His selective mutism was brought on by a very traumatic event. When he was four years old, I went away for a night, and even though I prepared him and family was with him, something happened. He woke up on the morning I was gone, and he couldn’t find me. He was scared and very frightened and, in his mind, he thought I had died. He stopped talking right then, and for six months he didn’t speak one word to anyone but the twins. My wonderful twins, who at seven, took on so much to help their little brother.

Needless to say, Decca was in therapy, mostly play therapy, for months, and it helped. He began talking to some family members and me, which made me so happy. But he couldn’t talk outside the home to anyone, not friends, not extended family members, and certainly not strangers.

Along with his selective mutism, Decca stopped calling people by their names. He could no longer say his friends names, he stopped calling my parents Grandma and Grampa, he no longer referred to his Uncles, and he stopped calling me mom. It broke my heart, and I am sure it broke his heart too.

I tried so many things and nothing worked. Decca had his own way of referring to people though. Grandma and Grampa became Old Man and Old Lady (and it didn’t bother them). Uncle Jesse became “my movie maker” because they make movies together, and I was known as “the one I love the most”. It was very sweet.

Recently though Decca has begun using names. Not the same names he used before, but new names. First my brother Jesse, who has a special bond with Decca, taught him to call him Tío Chuy. I didn’t think it would work, but it did, and I saw a joy in Decca that I had not seen is a long time.

He then started referring to Grandma as Babushka. We use to go to a park where we would always see this wonderful lady and her grandson. She was Russian and her grandson would call her Babushka. I always remembered that, and I often will use that word. Decca began to use it a few weeks ago, and Grandma is now Babushka.

Up until this week though, Decca still wasn’t calling me anything. Every name we tried sounded too much like mom (mater, ama, mere) and so he couldn’t use them. Then my step-dad told me that in German some people call their mothers mutti. I told Decca about this name, and he liked it. He was comfortable with it. And he uses it, all the time.

The first day he started calling me mutti, he must have said it over a hundred times. I think he was in as much pain as I was, and he really wanted to call me mom. For the last week I have heard “I love you mutti” so many times to which I always respond by telling him “I love you too Decca”.

And I do, so much.

And he loves me, his mutti.

Decca and Selective Mutism

Decca has made a good deal of progress this year in regard to his selective mutism, and I am so proud of him. He began using names back in September, and it truly made him so much happier. Decca took a choir class this year, which was a big step for him. He never talked (or sang) during the class, but he did stand with everyone, and he even tried to make the other kids laugh through non-verbal communication, which is the most he has interacted with a group of kids in a long time. Decca also started talking to strangers that he does not know. It has truly been a year of progress.

Decca with his Uncle

But in other areas he still struggles, and it pains me to see him struggling. My brother recently visited, and although Decca wanted to talk to him, he just couldn’t. Decca won’t even talk in front of him, and this made for a somewhat difficult trip to Catalina. Decca, who normally is Mr. Talkative, hardly said a word. My father also visited us this year, and Decca could not talk to him either. He wants to talk, as do all kids with selective mutism, but he just can’t.

Decca with the twins and his Grandpa Harper.

Decca would like to participate in some classes, especially a Lego class that is offered at the homeschool campus. Decca would also love to participate in choir, and he would love to begin taking acting classes like his sister. He wants to do all these things, but he hasn’t been able to.

Sitting in the car waiting to pick up the twins from classes.

So I am setting some new goals for him, and I am hoping that within a year I will be able to write a post on his progress. After all, look at all he accomplished this year.