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