How was your day?

So as you may have gathered my daughter has a speech delay.  Her IEP also says she has a developmental delay.  Coming to terms with it has been one of the most challenging and painful parts of motherhood.  There aren't answers for the "why" or "how" questions concerning its origins, and we will probably never know.  My hubby and I each feel a great deal of blame, even though we realize there's probably nothing we could have done differently to prevent it.  We tell ourselves it's not going to do any good to dwell on the past, only to think of the future.  Overall, our daughter is a healthy and happy girl, so what's the big deal?

I'll tell you what's the deal.  My baby didn't answer questions.  Ok, so maybe she did, but her answer was always "NO."  But that's not all.  She also didn't ask questions.  As a former nanny and baby-sitter, I was waiting for the moment for my child to enter into the "why" phase.  I recall my former charges repeatedly asking me "why" every two seconds.  It drove me nuts.  But now,  I'm earnestly waiting for my own daughter to ask.

Speaking to my child seemed fruitless.  She often didn't respond, and if she did, it was negatively.  If I asked what she wanted for dinner, her response was always "No",  even if I knew she was hungry.  She didn't know how to respond.  This in turn made it difficult to discipline.  Because of her lack of communication, I didn't know if she truly understood my directions.  Perhaps she really didn't understand I told her to pick up her clothes or not to throw her toys.  Or maybe she was just defiant.  I couldn't tell.

For the the last four months, she has been in a child development program at our local elementary school.  She receives speech therapy twice per week.  We didn't know what to expect, so we waited and watched.

A few nights ago, I went in to kiss my Princess "Goodnight" after I got off work.  It was one of my 12 hour days, so I really hadn't seen the kids at all.  A was still awake as she often is.  I gave her a kiss, or maybe a dozen.  I told her I loved her and asked about school.  You know, normal stuff.  She paused and didn't say much.  She looked at me and searched my face.

"Mommy.....did.   Mommy, did you have fun at work?  She finally gets it all out.

I about cry.  Actually, no, I did not have fun at work  I hate it, remember?  It was a long day, I still feel sick and I can't remember how many times I got yelled at.  But I couldn't tell her that.  I was too happy in this moment that she asked me a question!  "Yes, Baby, Mommy had a great day at work, but I missed you.  I'm glad to be home and kiss you goodnight..."

Today, as I was leaving for work, A arrives home from school.  She and her brother excitedly ask to ride bikes.  They wait in the garage (with daddy) while I get in my car.

"Mommy has to go to work" says A.  "Bye, Mommy!  Have fun at work!" she waves.  Her brother parrots the same "Have fun at work, Mommy!"

Finally, conversation!  Initiated by my own daughter!  I know its small, but its a start.  I'm so proud,  my heart is bursting for this girl.  We'll get through this curveball yet


Birthday Girl

Another year has gone by and my daughter finally decided she didn't want to grow up! Yay!  No kidding.  As I tucked her in bed I asked if she was excited for her birthday and turning six, and she replied with "No, five".  I held up six and fingers and she pushed the sixth finger down!  Finally!  My little girl will stay little forever!

While she isn't thrilled about being six, she did enjoy her party.  This is the first birthday party we hosted with classmates.  A is finally putting enough words together to respond to questions, so we were actually were able to have her input on what she wanted for her party.  Her choice was to go swimming....at the beach.  haha, Little One.  While we are in the South, it still isn't warm enough for swimming in early March.  Although I have no doubt A would try if given the chance.  Instead, we settled on an afternoon at Chik-fil-A.  Three classmates plus a few siblings joined us for playtime and chicken nuggets, plus ice cream and cupcakes.  They donned striped party hats and ate off Angry Birds plates.  Apple juice and lemonade were the beverages of choice.  And we can't forget about the jumping and dancing with Mrs Cow.  The meltdowns were minimal and the joy was palpable.

A is the oldest of her classmates, and all had speech and language difficulties.  Nevertheless, it was apparent the kiddos were happy to see each other and share this experience.  They communicated with each other the best they could and they got it.  They accepted each other where they were at.  It was an amazing lesson to watch.  I'd say we had a good day.