Thursday, June 05, 2008

Simply "E"

Covered bridge Derek I visited on way to Charlotte...

"Simplicity is the glory of expression." Walt Whitman

Tomorrow we will be meeting Eliza's early intervention case worker and the pre-k special ed teacher to outline Eliza's "classes" (therapies). In preparation, I've been spending the last two days making notes about Eliza's likes, dislikes, successes, areas that she is lagging in, etc. I'm also craving a good, short novel because I spend all my reading time trying to better understand how I can help Eliza blossom. My head is spinning and I need a good distraction. Anyone have any recommendations?!

Eliza is still non-verbal and that is our biggest challenge. She seems to understand the receptive end of our communcation, but now I'm wondering if it's the "routine" that she's understanding. Truth be told, my heart hurts most days because I feel like I'm a failure. I know that's not true, but let's face it, what parent doesn't have that expectation that they'll be able to teach their child to talk? I love when people tell me to practice the ABC's or counting or say her name, the word mom, etc... all day long. As if I'm not already doing all that. I smile politely. I've tried babysigning too. Eliza hates it and gets really angry with me when I try that. She shakes her head no, clenches her jaw and looks at me like, "What's your problem, don't you get me?"

She is so smart and she is so strong-willed. One moment, still a baby needing me and my encouragement; the next minute wanting to figure something out on her own. The other week, Eliza and I were visiting my friend who came home with her 8 yo daughter, Lucy Jing, from China recently. Eliza was chattering something while my friend and I were visiting. My friend asked what she was saying because her new daughter sounds like that too (a sound like, "doy, doy, doy, ding, doy, ding...") I looked at her and said, "I thought it was just baby talk. Do you mean she could honestly be saying something in Chinese?" I hadn't even thought of that because she didn't make a sound for the first year home. I thought for sure, by now, once she started making noises, it would be english. As our caseworker told us though, english is her second language. While she wasn't speaking yet, for the first 20 months, she heard her native/primary langauge. As for why some children come home from China and begin speaking english, she said that it's similar to adults who can not speak multiple languages. They're brains are wired differently. Some people are creative and good in the arts; others are math and science, etc. We'll see...

There's always her laughter and probably the reason that I'm so game to take her to fun parks, the pool, skating,'s at these places that I "hear" her thru her laugh and feel her heart sing. I suppose I'm also looking for something that will spark a word. She's most vocal in the pool (sounds, not words). We can't use the arm floaties at our pool this year, so life vest secured, Eliza is venturing out of the baby area of the pool now. She spent yesterday afternoon, in the deep end, kicking away and didn't want me holding her. The big kids were jumping, diving, playing a game of football... all around her. I was so afraid for her. I kept trying to bring her back into the shallow end. She would turn right around, lift the rope and swim under it. Yet, the day before, she was petrified for either of us to let her go! With that said, I'm anxious for her "classes" to start, but worried too. What if? I know she hates being pushed and I'm worried about why she isn't speaking yet.

One of life's greatest lessons in parenting, I suppose, is altering our expectations and building on the realities. This non-verbal reality is something that I've been pondering and praying on every day, all day, 7 days a week, month, year, etc. I'm turning this over, to God, and to the experts...and that's hard for me (not the God part). As a mom, it's hard not to be the "all" for your child when they're so young. As a mom, I have to re-define my value. That makes me sad right now, but I hope in time to find peace in it.

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