And, here I am. Back in the blogosphere.
Lately, I think I must look at one of my girls (or both of them), at what they are doing, and think to myself (or say out loud to B), "she just effin blows me away," at least 20 times a day. It's true. There aren't really any very articulate words to describe that feeling in those moments, except that . . . they effin blow me away.
Lately, with Sammie B, it is her words. With with her low-tone (and the difficulty in breath control that comes along with that), talking isn't easy for her. Saying long sentences isn't easy for her. Her articulation is still imperfect, using her oral muscles with enough precision to articulate some sounds isn't easy for her. For so long, she's preferred one-word utterances (she still does prefer them) but we always, always knew what she was trying to say with her short phrases/one-word sentences, and we'd fill in the rest for her. So, a conversation might go like this:
Me: "Hey, Sammie B - look - there's a monkey!" [Um, you know because we regularly pass monkeys in L.A. - okay, so I'm probably talking about a stuffed monkey.]
Sammie B: "Me!!!"
Me: "You want that monkey!"
Sammie B: "Yeah! Monkey Movie!"
Me: "I know, you LOVED the monkey movie, didn't you?" (She LOVED the Disney Chimpanzee documentary; we saw it twice)
Sammie B: "Dada!"
Me: "Yep, Dada took you to see that movie!"
See? So, even though she's been talking for awhile, WE were the ones doing most of the conversation for her. Guessing at what she was trying to say (with a great deal of accuracy, but still . . . ). We were filling in the holes for her.
Lately, though, things are changing. And, BLOWING ME THE EFF AWAY. I think that's part of the beauty of this journey. We take nothing for granted. We truly appreciate and marvel at every word, every strung together phrase. Every question. And that's just it . . . it is the questions that are blowing me away the most right now. It started many months ago with "What's dat?" when she saw a picture of a person playing bochi ball in an italian restaurant we were eating at. B and I both looked at each other with that twinkle and pride in our eyes and said, "she just asked her first question!" Then she started asking everyone she met "what's your name?" And now, over time, these questions . . . wow. So, many questions. And, I promise you this - I never tire of them. I really don't (though I may have just answered "because I said so" to "why?" this weekend).
I'll give you some examples:
Last weekend, B was sick, and I told Sammie B that dada was feeling sick. For the rest of the weekend, she kept asking him "what are you feeling?" (as an aside, she also kept telling him to take some of her CoQ10, which is pretty stinking funny).
Every time one of us is in the kitchen, she says "what are you making?" (which my mom thought was funny, since we so rarely "make" anything in our kitchen!)
She now asks "What are we going to do?" and the other day, I said, "we are going home right now" (we were driving) and she said, "I know. Then what are we going to do." EFFIN blown away by her words.
One day we were leaving her doctor's office and she asked what we were going to do and I said, "we have to stop at one store," and she said, "what is it called?" and I said, "CVS," to which shes said, "what are we going to buy?" I told her we were going to buy a new thermometer, and she said, "animal." I said, "I don't think they sell animals there," and she said (this is amongst my favorite Sammie B moments ever): "yeah they do and I want to buy one!" Guess what? We bought a stuffed animal there!
A few of my other favorite things from the mouth of my big girl lately:
- "That was so funny!" (She says this one a lot, she puts her hand to her mouth, throws her head back, giggles and says, "dat was so bunny!" as if whatever was just said truly is the most hysterical thing she's ever seen or heard.)
- When we tell her "no," (usually when she's asked "Can I watch one Dora please?") she says in a very bossy little way "YOU CAN SAY YEAH!" That one is particularly funny because she totally got it from me. I always joke that B is, more often than not, the "no man" (he's way tougher than me, I'm a sucker) and so I say to him in those moments, "okay, B, you know, you can say yeah!"
- One day I was explaining to her that her nanny wouldn't be going to school with her the next day as she usually does, but that B would drop her off and just before I got to the part where I was going to tell her that I'd pick her up, she said (with such joy) "and mama gonna pick you up!" He words are so funny - she's totally getting the idea of present tense/past tense, but the whole "you/me/I" thing is harder, and it is just so cute.
- We knew it would be hard for her when Mia started really moving. We have really, really tried to make it into something fun and Sammie B has been ah-maz-ing about clapping and cheering her sister on with "Go Mia Go!" as Mia tears off crawling across the floor. Well, now, Miss Sammie B is doing some new movement herself -- she's finally butt-scooching forward. She's been going backward forever but wouldn't do it forward. So, now, whenever Mia is crawling, Sammie B starts butt-scooching after her and we say "Go Sammie Go, Go Mia Go!" and Sammie B always says, "I'm going! I'm going!" [As an aside, butt-scooching sure isn't the most efficient way of getting around, but the beauty in it doesn't escape us, not even for a second. In it, we see progress. Motivation to move. Possibility. We take nothing for granted.]
- We've been trying to teach Mia words, with Sammie B's help, so we'll pat our own chests and say, "I'm mama!" and "I'm dada!" Well, Miss Sammie thinks there's NOTHING funnier than patting her own chest and saying "I'm mama!" or "I'm dada!" and then dying in a fit of giggles and saying "NO! I'm Dammie!"
- One night we asked Sammie B if she'd like to go on a "date" with B. (We try really hard for one of us to take Sammie B to do something without Mia just one night each weekend or week) and she said, "what are we going to do?" B said they'd go see a movie and she looked at me and said, "mama, you can come with us." Isn't she the sweetest?!
- We switch off who does each girl's bedtime each night and lately, Sammie B always wants me (heart melts!) I'll say "Dada is going to read your stories now," and she'll say, "No, Dada do Mia bedtime!" I dig it.
These words. We are oh-so-grateful for every word that comes from her mouth (sigh, even the "NOs" that come oh-so-frequently at age 3), because we are so very, very aware of how blessed we are to know her voice. To hear her thoughts. Her likes/her dislikes (lately, she tells us two things she doesn't like - pineapple and sitting on the potty, in no particular order). She negotiates with us. More play time before bath or bed, more bites of dessert, less bites of the non-chocolate foods.
Her voice. Her giggles. Her. Blows me away.
We know that forming words and sentences is hard for her. We know that. But, she's doing it. And, it is just blowing me away. She makes me oh-so-proud.
May I always remember that whether something is "easy" or "hard" for Sammie B simply won't determine whether she does it or not. This girl is hard-work defined.