"___________ said the cutest thing yesterday."
Such a simple, run of the mill phrase. Friends share back and forth all the adorable things that their kids say and do all the time, but when you're struggling with a child who has unexplained developmental delay, those words can sometimes seem like vinegar being poured onto an open wound.
I don't know what it is, but I have been struggling lately. Faith has been, well, Faith. Lovable, smiling, happy, and into everything she shouldn't be into...just like normal...but I have had a more difficult time dealing with tantrums and melt downs that occur from lack of communication than ever before. Maybe its just that I have been sick for the last week or so, maybe I just had my hopes set too high for her progress- who knows...but whatever the cause, it seems like every tantrum or meltdown has crushed my heart into a million pieces and I hurt for my daughter.
It also seems like EVERYONE with a toddler about Faith's age has a child who is talking up a storm and being adorable with learning how to use language effectively, and here I am with a child who is silent for the most part. Her language consists of "yeah", spoken at a high pitched squeal as loudly as she can say it and "Uh oh" when she drops something and can't reach it....
I think the thing that has been getting to me the most lately is that I never hear her call me "mamma". When she cries and I'm not in the room, I don't know if she is being her usual drama queen self and is upset because Phillie has the toy she wants or if she is crying because she needs me and is in pain or in trouble...and in the last few weeks, as she has gotten into things that she shouldn't, there has been more than one occasion where I feel like the WORST MOM EVER because I left her alone for 5 minutes and come back to find a head, arm, torso (whatever, etc.) stuck behind or under furniture and she had been whining or crying, but not to the extent that I thought she was in any danger...
Every day I hear Phillie surpass her linguistically. The other day I was holding Phillie, she patted me on the shoulder, gave me a kiss and said, "Good mamma". It melted my heart because she is just so darn adorable and lovable, but broke my heart when I realized that, for some reason, Faith can't have those types of little moments with me. Phillie calls out for me, she can say if she likes something or doesn't..she says "hot dog" and sings along with the "hot dog dance" when we watch her favorite show Mickey Mouse Clubhouse...Faith has adapted in some ways. She will make short "ah" or "uh" sounds when they are counting, she has this thing she does with her arms when Mickey asks everyone to say the magic words to get the clubhouse to appear...she tries, bless her heart...but I can sense her frustration that nobody understands her when she babbles, and we have major meltdowns if she brings me something and I can't guess right away what she wants me to do with it.
Faith has been my little buddy lately (aka ATTACHED TO MY HIP). I'm guessing its because of all the times that she has gotten herself into sticky situations when I'm not around. It has been frustrating at times, but for the most part I have needed her to be like this lately, because, in her own way, she is letting me know that she needs me or wants me. She will come and close the lid down on my laptop and crawl into my lap and just "be"...or I will be sitting on the floor trying to engage her and she will randomly just crawl into my lap and pull my arms around her to hold her tight... those are our little moments. I am grateful for them, but I feel guilty at the same time because I DO want more. I want to hear her say funny and cute things...she is such a goof with her body language and mannerisms, I just want to know what is going on inside that little head of hers. Its like there is constantly a joke on the tip of her tongue that she is dying to tell...and it gets frustrating for both of us.
Another frustrating thing to watch is how she interacts with the other kids; especially in nursery at church. There is a little girl in the nursery, don't know her name, but she follows Faith around and tries SO HARD to get her to play with her. Faith walks away and tries to find a corner to be alone but this little girl is so persistent. I know that I should find out her name, find out who her mom is and see if we can schedule a play date, but then comes the problem of will it being a fruitful play date or if its just going to be frustrating for the poor girl who desperately is trying to be Faith's friend, but Faith, for the most part, ignores her and wants to do her own thing her way? Its a tough call, but I suppose I need to go outside my comfort zone, explain the situation to this little girl's mom and see if she would be willing to try. Who knows, it could help, right? If anything, we can take the time to teach Faith how to play with someone else and that will help her in other situations.
While there are frustrations, I have had some small victories that I shouldn't short change. I have figured out that Faith will respond to her name if I say it as high pitched and LOUDLY as I possibly can...this has led me to wonder if her delays really do have something to do with her hearing. She just can't hear language in order to make heads or tails of how to use it. We have the speech therapist coming to our house this week. I am praying that Faith will cooperate so that we can do the hearing test and get definitive results here at home instead of having to wait and schedule with an audiologist here in town.
Faith has also learned how to play with blocks. This may not seem like a big deal to some people, but considering that just a few months ago therapists in Idaho were saying that it was a pretty big deal that she didn't have a clue what to do with blocks other than eat them, I am taking it as a huge victory. She will bring me 3 or 4 blocks, I will stack a few, and then she will bring blocks to stack until the tower gets so tall that it falls over (that's her favorite part).
She is also developing a sense of personal style. She is every bit as girlie as I thought she would be. She is constantly bringing me her play tutus to put them on, and she loves to have scarves wrapped around her head like a 1950's diva (think Grace Kelly in High Society) ready to go for a ride in a corvette. The other day, she had me put on an old dance costume that my mother in law had gotten for her at a yard sale and refused to take it off. We ended up running errands with her wearing the lovely, red frock complete with shiny silver sequins and glitter...she looked fabulous! LOL
I guess the biggest frustration is seeing that she IS a toddler and cognitively seems to act her age, she just can't communicate like a child her age. She wants to be a big girl, she wants to be understood, she just can't figure out how to do it on her own.
I know this too shall pass. I know that we are on the path to getting her the help she needs. I have no doubt in my mind that she will be able to talk in the next few years, I guess I'm just getting impatient (story of my life, I suppose).
Hopefully, Wednesday will bring us some more answers. I am praying that it does...but even if it doesn't, I know the Lord will provide the answers in His own time and in the way that they need to be provided. Who am I to question His plan? I know Faith is destined for great things. She is too awesome not to be. For now, I need to focus on enjoying where she is as opposed to where she isn't developmentally... my frustrations have more to do with ME.
I'm so glad that my girls are loving and patient with me. I'm a work in progress, but I'm getting there. God, grant me the ability to be the mother THEY need as opposed of the mother I THINK I need to be... because that is more important than what the world and Pinterest tell me... at least I realize that its me that needs to change my way of thinking, and that is half the battle, right?
Hugs and loves until next time, darlings.