Warning- the following post is full of ramblings.
I’m feeling a little drained today. I can finally exhale now that all of Gracie’s therapists have left- her 6 month Early Intervention review was today and I didn’t realize how nervous I was until it was over. My hands were shaking while signing various documents for each therapist. To be totally honest, my world is pretty sunny. But dark clouds seem to loom when I am forced to consider whether or not my sweet little baby has developmental delays, muscle tone problems, and swallow issues.
It’s easy for me to get comfortable thinking Grace is perfectly fine. It’s easy to love her “normalness” when no one is judging, when she isn’t being evaluated on a sliding scale, when a team of people aren’t discussing her progress or lack-there-of. But once those flood gates open up, it always takes me a little while to block them back up, to get the flow of what-if’s and maybe’s back to a level I can tolerate.
Like most of the challenges we all face in life, I have come to realize there is a natural ebb and flow to all of our difficult times, and the best thing to do is take it all in stride. As a mother, and especially as a mother of a child with extra needs, I have to mentally coach myself to truly digest information before I reflexively and protectively bounce it back off of my thick skin in a shallow effort to protect my baby- but really to protect myself- from actually having to confront real issues that come up all the time in regards to Grace and her developmental progress. I no longer take “she should be” and “we should have already seen” as a personal blow to my mothering skills, but more of guidelines and boundaries that need to be bent and broken. You tell me “she should be” and I will tell you she will. And the best part about all of this is that these wonderful therapists will help me to get there.
I’ve enjoyed simple for the last few days- simple play time. Simple work. Simple love. One of my favorite little simples has been to watch Lilly and Grace play and interact with my cousin’s two girls, Cam and Isla. The age span between them all is only 28 months so the gaps open and close in such a wonderful way.
There is so much happy play between all these little ladies but the real magic lies in the language they speak to each other. The words and the way those words are said- it’s an entirely other world, a world parents can only glimpse as they watch their children play.
It’s a language of understanding and curiosity as they learn to share and cooperate, learn how to take turns and how to communicate not just loudly, but effectively.
Even the language of toddler to baby is magic. It’s safe to assume there are few words being exchanged in the above photograph, but little Isla and Gracie are certainly communicating, watching and learning.
We also enjoyed simple family time, especially with my husband’s brother who was in town for a short while. We don’t get to see him very often because of his work, but when we do, it’s always so much fun to watch him with Lilly.
So Gracie will get her hearing aids on October 16th. Once they are on and functioning we are hoping to see a greater increase in her vocal ability and start to travel down the road of recognizing proper speech and language patterns. We have already determined that there are certain speech sounds Grace cannot hear but are confident she will catch up once her aids are on. She will have what is called a “hearing age” that begins the day her aid is put in and turned on.
Our baby’s calendar will get even busier as we add a Physical Therapist to Gracie’s repertoire of teachers, but everyone hopes she can loosen up her hips enough to start crawling in the next few months. Crawling = no more helmet so there is a great deal of motivation there.
An Occupational Therapist is also going to come give an eval. to determine why Grace chokes all the time and if it’s something we need to worry about or not.
The results of both tests she had done last week determined that she does not have reflux or any noticeable upper GI issues. It is still a mystery as to why she arches her back and has so much trouble sleeping.
All in all, though, Grace is doing wonderfully and is happily growing and progressing thanks to lots of love, a little bit of encouragement, and lots of coaxing from sister. Caught Lilly this morning “teaching” Grace to squawk like a parrot and “flap her wings bigger”. She’ll be crawling in no time. I mean, you’ve got to crawl before you can fly, right?
And finally, most importantly, Happy Anniversary to the man I love. Thank you for loving me, supporting me, pushing me, and encouraging me to do the things I love. Our three short years of marriage have been blissfully full of excitement, challenges, experiences and fun. I wish for many, many more anniversaries full of those very same things. xo.