Friday, November 22, 2013

Tis the Season...

(and the anniversary) for thankfulness. Not just in


but also in



I'm devoting it all to my wonder girl this week.

When Maggie was first diagnosed, it helped...not at all. We were told what part of Maggie's genetic make-up was atypical and then that, basically, they didn't have any more information for us. They couldn't offer any predictions for her future, and they couldn't connect us with anyone with a similar child. Don't get me wrong, I actually loved the doctors we worked with, but there just isn't much information out there.

Eventually, I was able to use a skill with Maggie that I had developed as a teacher. I had to let go of all preconceived notions of child development and take Maggie exactly as she was. If other 18 month olds were talking, I couldn't even let that expectation even enter my mind for Maggie. (Unless she was showing signs of talking, of course, but she wasn't.) I had to let go of the idea that I could somehow advance the rate of her development and growth through education and exposure. And the pressure of my own anxiety, of course.

Maggie, and every child I've ever taught, moves at his or her own pace. I'm not saying education and exposure aren't important (because they are vitally important); I'm saying that they're not enough to change a child's natural developmental pace. The pace must be respected. There has to be some sort of glimmer, some sort of sign that the child is ready to learn a new skill, or it's a waste of everyone's time. And detrimental. Once that glimmer is there, though, go to it, have at it, hammer away!


I'm not actually saying I'm any good at this. Definitely not all the time. I have my moments.

Maggie's physical therapist (whose son I actually taught and who became a good friend) once said, "Sarah, she is learning. That's what's important." Even if the learning is behind the typical schedule, there is still learning going on. And, what I've found is, in time, Maggie ends up doing all the things other kids do. Just later. And, I have to think, so much sweeter for the wait. :)

I am thankful this week and always Maggie and her distinct personality:

1. Just barely hearing whispered phrases like, "And does it not seem hard to you, when all the sky is clear and blue..." as she "reads" A Child's Garden of Verses.

2. Proving me wrong at the gymnastics studio after I told the instructor over and over that she would be nervous and probably not want to try out the equipment. She tried it all, almost without any hesitation.

3. Greeting visitors in our home or neighbors walking their dogs not terribly gracefully, but very politely, "What is your name?"

4. Hearing from her teacher that Maggie has a compliment for her (the teacher) every day. She might say, "That's a pretty pink shirt you are wearing." And then follow the compliment with a request for one herself:
"Did you see my blowm (brown) boots?"
"Do you like my pink star pants?"
"Did you see my timpint (Christmas) tree bow?"

5. Hearing, "MAGGIE DO IT!" when I absent-mindedly start a task (such as cutting or gluing) she considers her own.

6. Her great love of tracing letters and shapes.


7. Participating in conversations like this one while searching for a place to park in a parking garage:

 



Birds of a pattern-mixing feather
Maggie: I smell your air, Mama.
Me: My air? What does it smell like?
Maggie: Like fire, Mama. I am a parking place, Mama.
Me: A parking place, huh?
Maggie: I am a train, Mama.

or this one on a walk:

Maggie: I want to go home, Mama. My feet are davy (very) dizzy.
Me: Your feet are tired?
Maggie: Yes, my feet are davy dizzy.

8. Seeing her personality blossom in her fashion choices. OK, personal fashion preference may not be the most important of all skills I want to cultivate, but for a girl who is SO MUCH like her daddy, I love any kind of connection we share.



 
9. Seeing her teachers' confused faces when I asked about Maggie's timidity and anxiety level when she is at school. They've never seen her act timid or anxious. And hearing that they think she'd be better suited to the inclusion class, and they'd like to schedule an IEP meeting to move her to said class.

10. Dry nights!


Now hop on over to you TToT hosts (A Fly on our (Chicken Coop) Wall, Considerings, Finding Ninee, Getting Literal, Home On Deranged, I can say mama, I Want Backsies, Rewritten, Thankful Me, The Wakefield Doctrine) or FTSF hosts (Janine, Kate, Stephanie, or Kristi) and read more!

48 comments :

  1. Beautiful and seriously I couldn't agree more all children do learn at different paces, but sounds quite honestly to me that Maggie is just perfect the way she is and that is truly something to be thankful for!! :)

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  2. Ohhhhhhh Sarah, Maggie is SO beautiful. What a perfect post to share for our 25th. I feel very honoured that you'd share such wonderfulness on our special week.

    I LOVE your conversations with her (I've had similar kinds of random from Niece, who is 3, and it's always hilarious) and the great 'thumbs up' pic of her at the end. But the thing which really grabbed me and made me fall in love with her is 'timpint' - SO CUTE :)

    Thank you (and Maggie) for this :)

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    1. Lizzy, you've stolen my heart by being taken with my daughter. As she gets older and pronounces words correctly, Brian and I continue on with her mispronunciations because we love them so much.

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    2. Oh goody :D Cos the mispronunciations are SO cute. Husby and I still use one my friend's little girl coined when she was about 2 y/o - 'ptea for 'cup of tea'. Use it most days and LOVE it :D

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    3. "ptea" just makes me think of Eliza Doolittle. :)

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    4. The singer or the literary character? Both are pretty awesome :D

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    5. Well, I was thinking of Audrey Hepburn in the movie. Though she really says, "cuppa tea," when Rex Harrison is trying to train her into "cup. of. tea."

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    6. Ohhhhh okay. I think I only saw My Fair Lady the once. But I can do a bloody good rendition of "Awl ay want is a room sumwair"

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  3. Your daughter is lucky to have you for a mom! By remembering to respect her own pace, you eliminate a lot of frustration on her part and yours, and allow her love of learning to continue.

    As for the cute words, my husband and I still occasionally will say "hamdingers" for "hamburgers"--a word coined by our son about 22 years ago!

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    1. Kristi, that's what I meant by saying I learned it as a teacher. I found early on how much my own anxiety got in the way of everyone's progress. It's probably one of the hardest things I have to do as a mama, but I try to put it aside (or medicate it away).

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  4. 100%, unequivocally in love with your little girl!!! Her sweet little words for things just slay me! And I love that you respect the pace she needs to learn. THAT in itself is beautiful.

    My 6yo still says pupcakes for cupcakes and I hope he says it foreeeeeever! :)

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    1. So sweet! Thanks, Beth! "Pupcakes" could not be cuter! I'd hold on to that one, too!

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    2. Awwwh 'pupcakes' is gorgeous.

      The one Niece says is 'Wollyplops' for lollipops. Gets me right in the heart :)

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    3. Wollypops! I may have to adopt that one, myself!

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    4. WollypLops. See? It's far, FAR funnier :D I say it now (when I remember)

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    5. You're right. The extra L makes it far funnier!

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  5. Am so glad that Maggie is making great strides! Thanks for sharing with us!

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  6. My favorite part about this is Maggie not showing signs of being timid or anxious at school. When I taught, time and time again, I saw kids rise to the occasion when they got to school, throwing off the shyness or anxiety their parents were expecting. It has everything to do with letting kids do things at their own pace and not at a pace designated as "normal". You are a great mom, doing great things for Maggie. Thank you for sharing this with us on the TToT.
    Oh, and she's doing a super job with her printing!

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    1. I wonder if you also have this experience: I am more used to being on the teacher end in parent conferences, and it still strikes me as so backwards when teachers say the kinds of things to me that I used to say to other parents. That was convoluted. What I mean is that her teachers told me about how some kids "throw off their anxiety" (as you put it), and I can remember saying that to anxious parents who projected a lot of their own anxiety on to their children. Shoe's on the other foot now!

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  7. What a wonderful post. I'm so glad I'll see this wonderful girl soon! And I want to hear more about the school stuff!

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  8. Great list! It takes quite some time to realise that each child learns at their own pace. But as soon as you figured this out it gets so much better. Your daughter is precious!

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  9. Oh my gosh, Maggie is absolutely precious. And you are a fabulous mom, clearly, for appreciating everything she is. It seems hard to imagine, but too many people are just incapable of doing so. She's lovely.

    The mispronounced words are gems to hold on to - our Kidzilla used to say things incorrectly and I remember reading somewhere that those days go by much too quickly so we let it go. There's just no need to over-correct that sort of thing. They work it out on their own in due time. We loved some of Kidzilla's goofs so much we keep them around just for fun, even though she's long since figured out the correct words. It's a nice way to keep those baby memories fresh in our minds and hearts.

    It's great that she seems to feel so comfortable at school. Kind of makes you feel like "hmm...thought I knew my kid" but at the same time, it's so good that she is at ease. Not a bad thing at all.

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    1. I hardly ever think of myself as a fabulous mom, but I am basking away in the praise I am receiving!

      I agree about kids figuring out the pronunciations in their own time. That's happening already and it causes me a bit of a pang. "Towel," not "tajul"?

      Someone somewhere said me to me, "Since you're a teacher you know better than to mimic your child's mispronuncitations." I let it pass, but I love my child's mispronunciations. These disappear soon enough.

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  10. Oh, Maggie is precious beyond words! What a smile! It is so funny, my girls and I were just talking today at lunch about the little words and phrases they came up with as little ones (they are now 11 and 17) that we still use today. Presents are cresents and forever is tooever in our house and always will be!
    Your list is amazing and it is very clear, just from reading this post, that you are a wonderful Mom! Wonder girl indeed!

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    1. It's the same in my original family, too. That will be a fun conversation to have someday!

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  11. Oh my goodness, she's cute beyond words!
    And those conversations are AWESOME: I can smell your air, Mama. You're fire! That means you're her defender and superhero. :)
    Haha...your comment made me grin. Ah, EarthFare. I love that place. And Ingles. Yeah...being a Spanish teacher, I was so excited when I first moved here. I *had* to go to "Inglés" - how progressive. Oh wait...It's just a grocery store. HAHA.
    It's great to be in touch. So glad we're in the same circles on the blogosphere. :D
    And once again, your little one is TOO CUTE! I love her fashion choices.

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    1. I will say they're nice people, the Ingles. As a native Texan, I thought it was Ingles (how do you accent a word?), too. :)

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  12. What a beautiful little leftie you have there! The conversations are priceless! I agree that kids can sometimes be very different in school than at home..

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    1. It's just so funny to experience it from the other side. I taught for so many years.

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  13. This is my first time at your blog and already, for Maggie and your family, I'm thinking "why did they have to worry you when there seems to have been nothing wrong?" But I know I'm new and probably don't know the whole story. She is atypical in a wonderful way. I think she is beautiful. I chuckled at her saying certain words because all kids sound like that as they are learning to speak. So glad you shared this. This was a nice intro to me getting to know you and your blog :) Happy Weekend!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Brittnei! Maggie does have developmental delays, but she is making great progress. We try to take her needs as they come.

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  14. Knowledge is power and understanding how a child develops is the best. Often I recline back on what I learned in class and let go of the Achievement List society flashes around. Beautifully done!

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  15. What an absolutely beautiful list and tribute to your precious little girl. You are such a wonderful, loving mother. Those words that Maggie's physical therapist said to you really resounded with me; they are so true. We live in such a competitive world, were our development is weighed, measured, charted and compared to other's since the day we are born, and that level of analysis is not healthy. What is infinitely more important is how loved and secure a little person feels in their home environment, and Maggie obviously has that in spades. You are doing a fantastic job and from her photos it's clear she is a happy, smiling, curious and active little girl. Sending big hugs to both of you. xx

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    1. Thanks so much, Lizzy, and I couldn't agree more about the constant assessment our children undergo. At our pediatrician in NC, I had to fill out the Ages&Stages Questionnaire at every visit. Maggie never performed well, and it made me sick. Her doctor knew she had developmental delays, and I wondered why I had to keep doing it.
      When we went to her new pediatrician here in MD, I didn't have to fill out that wretched questionnaire, and I nearly kissed her doctor for it.

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  16. Love this -- and the comment about your air smelling like fire made me think of all the hoopla surrounding Catching Fire. She is beautiful and sounds like such a joy to have in your lives.

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    1. I'm pretty excited about Catching Fire, though. Maybe that means I'm like Katniss!

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  17. "The pace must be respected." Amen. It certainly wasn't an easy thing for me to learn...ergo the wine. Lots and lots of wine! :D

    Your Maggie is absolutely adorable!!!

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  18. Dry nights??? That happens?? Thank you for the reminder of that and also of the fact that our kids develop when they develop. I know that Tucker has a long road when it comes to speech. Part of that (and it's not just speech) has been unsubscribing from EVERY parenting email that I signed up for when he was born. I try so hard to just look at his progress and nobody else's. Great job on focusing your efforts there. What a great thankful list.

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    1. Kristi, I did the same thing with those horrid emails! Somewhere around 5 or 6 months, when Maggie was clearly not "on track." I never resubscribed with Leo either. It's just too painful to be reminded how atypical your child is on a weekly basis.
      Kristi, Maggie didn't speak more than four or five words until we got her into private OT with a strong sensory processing element at age 2 3/4. Then, BOOM, she was ready to talk. It was amazing.
      As for the dry nights, I am over the moon! Now, I'm washing sheets and blanket this morning so it's not perfect yet, but to buy only one size of diapers! OMG!!!!!!!!!

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  19. So, what can I say that hasn't already been said? How about, "You're one of the few mother's I've read that knows their daughter inside and out, displays great love and affection, and yet, hasn't a clue about her behavior when you're not around!" lol Seriously, your observations shared, as well as her perfect smile that would have to brighten the darkest night, well display the love you two have for each other. It's nice to meet a mother that really cares! Excellent post!

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    1. Golly, Rich, what oomph for my ego! You should see me when I'm tired and grumpy and not writing a blog post. But, seriously, thanks for the generous comment.

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  20. Lots to be thankful for with your sweet girl! Love that she compliments the teacher- very adorable.

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