Selective Mutism in the Blogosphere – Essay by Amy Ettinger on Huffington Post Parents
by: Amy Ettinger
My daughter, who is two and a half, sits with the other preschoolers as they perform a version of “If you’re happy and you know it.” She doesn’t clap, or stomp her feet or sing along (even though she knows every word of the song by heart).
Later, she sits with me on the floor of her room surrounded by her favorite stuffed bear and leads her own rendition. After her “imaginary circle time” she talks about her day and asks why her buddy Theo was “grabby, grabby” with the toy train.
At school she won’t utter a peep. She won’t say “hi” to her teacher or any direct question from an adult. She won’t scream in protest when a kid cuts in front of her in line and she’ll bite her lip if she falls rather than cry out. Her quiet on the playground is a black and white silent movie version of the chatterbox I see at home.
My pediatrician says my daughter’s behavior is not so unusual, especially given the history of shyness in my family.
“Wait and see,” she advises. “Schedule more playdates.”
While I wait, I think, usually at 4 a.m. when I should be sleeping. I think about my grandfather who spent an entire school year silent after he was teased about his Russian accent. Or about my mother who tells me that she married my father in part because “he didn’t care that I didn’t talk on our dates. He talked enough for the both of us.”
Read the Rest of this Article on the Huffington Post