Monday, August 29, 2011

Some Days Are Just Hard

So, I had one of those days. We all have them. We all let them go. We all get over them.  Anyone that follows my post or hangs with me knows I don't dwell on things that don't go my way perfectly - or at least I don't think I do. And tonight could have passed without a word about my day, but for some reason I just feel the need to write about it. I'm not sure why, maybe someone needs to hear it or maybe someday I'll need to reread it or maybe I just need to say this, so for whatever reason, here I go.

You all know I love my little Allie. Love her more than words or blogs can ever tell you.  I love her for exactly who she is. She is my Angel. I prayed for her for years and years and when God felt I was ready, he blessed me with her and I couldn't be happier.  Some days, however, I have a hard day. Today was one of them.  You see, as the weekend ended I noticed I didn't get to do enough with her. We didn't "work" on things enough. We didn't do the arts and crafts I had planned, we didn't ever make it to the park and now it was time to go back to work. That brought me down a bit. But, then as I was rocking Allie (after she requested "chair") she tried to convince me to let her watch a movie. Bless her - she showed me every sign that reflected her favorite movies... "signing" "time" "bird" "wind" "movie" and several more and even pointed dramatically to the door. Each time getting the firm reminder it was bedtime.  Then, she said and signed eat. I figured she was trying to get me to bring her in the other room so she could watch a movie (I'm telling you, this kid is very smart!) and I said no. But, she continued to say eat, Eat, EAt and then EAT!!! So, I did what any mother of a not yet 25 pound 3 1/2 year old would do... we went to the kitchen to eat.  Of course, she paused at the TV and asked for movie, but I was determined she would eat without a movie. I asked her over and over again what she wanted to eat. This is normally a question I can get an answer for - at minimal she will say or sign cracker or cookie. Last night, I just got EAT and movie.  It made me a bit sad. Would she ever consistently tell me what she wanted?  Would she ever tell me about her day, which friends she played with or what she wanted to do?  Of course she would, but as the weekend ended and she could only tell me "eat", I got a bit bummed and convinced myself she was so far behind and now I was going to have to go to work and not even spend time on helping her (okay, pitiful, but that is what "being bummed" is). We fixed that sad moment with several Oreo cookies, and OREO song and some milk. I thought the bummed feeling I had left my body as I hugged my Angel goodnight. 

Leaving Allie at school this morning it seemed to creep back up on me and I found myself lost again in "how far behind she was".  Sometimes having Allie's classmates come up to me and have a full conversation (okay, 3 year old style) makes me think Allie is even further behind than I thought.  One of her classmates saw me and said "Aren't you going to take my picture today?" (yep... I may be over doing the camera a bit).  I just started thinking I'm not doing enough, I must work harder, I must learn new ways to teach Allie.  I must get her to answer questions and tell me about her day.  At work my mind drifted and I found myself doing some Internet searches to learn new ways to teach Allie new things.  I found ways to "teach your Down Syndrome child to read", new research studies I could sign up for that would surely keep me on the progressive chart and I did what I normally do when this funk hits me... I called Allie's Speech Therapist, Lynn, and begged for my own therapy session. (half joking of course). 

Lynn is amazing to me. While she can tell me that things concern her, too, she can also point out the obvious - the things I notice daily, but in my funk I seemed to forget.  She pointed out so many things. We have a new vocabulary program we are starting soon that we are all very excited about. Allie has come so far this year that it is truly remarkable and amazing. In fact, during their Therapy session this very morning they were doing a puzzle and Lynn asked Allie for the "belt" piece. I've never really talked to Allie about belts - despite the few times she has worn one - nor do any of us know the sign, but Allie was able to hand Lynn the belt puzzle.  I was a bit  surprised. Lynn explained that last week they did this puzzle and Allie was shown the belt piece, she clearly learned it and remembered it since last week. Plus, Lynn told Allie she was cold. What did Allie do? She gave her the 'coat' puzzle piece.  Then, I saw the Music Therapist, Rochelle's note and a smile crossed my face.. she has such a wonderful way of describing my daughter's activities so that I feel I'm in the room watching the whole event.  She described Allie participating with excitement and purpose. She followed instructions just like the other children. She waited patiently when it wasn't her turn. She danced and played her instrument and sat down when the song told her to. She even fed the pretend pig some pretend food.  So, yes, there are some things that are taking longer for us to hear and experience. She can tell me about her day accurately in a few years - just like all little kids do - around the age of 5 (thanks to Lynn I now know that). She will answer my questions when she is ready, but for now, she is so much further than she was just months ago.  To add to this, when I picked Allie up, she ran to me just like her buddy, Jack, ran to his Mom. I remember so clearly how I felt that it was taking so long for that to happen and now she has been doing it for so long I nearly forgot it was a goal.  I also received another therapist note today and it also commended Allie on so many functional skills.  And, one I'm particularly proud of was that Allie "brushed her teeth very well all by herself. She did not require any cues from [the therapist]".   Allie and I worked hard on this skill and I'm proud to hear she doesn't need me standing next to her while she does it. 

I was reminded today that it is very easy to get caught up in what isn't happening.  This can happen at a weak moment, for me it was when I was already sad that I had to go to work and didn't have enough time to do all the things I wanted to do with her. But, I knew I couldn't stay in that emotion for long, and I'm glad I didn't because I might have missed  some amazing things that are happening every single day. For example, on the way home as Allie watched her movie she sang the songs out loud and I could understand what she was singing; at dinner tonight, I put Allie's plate in front of her and she saw her favorite mashed potatoes and signed and said "potatoes, please".  And as I tucked her into bed after she put her baby doll to sleep by telling her and all the other dolls in her room to "sleep". She then told me "Allie sleep".  What a fool I was last night and today to forget that she is telling me what she wants to tell me and she is communicating with me better than ever before. And, yes, there are some words and signs I can't interpret and I feel guilty for not being able to understand her, but there are many more that I can understand. And, when she wraps her arms around my neck and hugs me so tight and smiles and giggles I understand exactly what she is saying.  I'm excited about the journey ahead of us and I guess I am reminded that we aren't on my schedule and I should not try to move too fast. We will get there in exactly the perfect time.


SavannaLea said...

You are an AWESOME mommy to Allie, she is incredibly lucky to have you for a mommy. God knew exactly what he was doing and don't ever forget that. I have watched Allie truly blossom into a spunky 3 year old (almost 4-oh where does the time go) and it is because you(& Tim) make sure Allie has every opportunity that any other child has. ((((hugs)))))

Eric, Marilyn, and Elliott said...

Sandy, you are so wonderful! Every parent in the world feels this way sometimes (you know I do) but you take it in stride with such grace. I am just amazed at all that Allie has accomplished since she and Elliott were together in class, and I'm so excited to see her grow even more this year!

Grandpa Hugh & Granma Connie said...

A WONDERFUL MESSAGE FROM A GREAT! MOM about a very accomplished wonderful Granddaughter!

Grandpa Hugh & Granma Connie said...

A WONDERFUL MESSAGE FROM A GREAT! MOM & about a very accomplished wonderful Granddaughter!

Anonymous said...

Hey Sandy,
I believe you followed Elizabeth's journey thru cancer-land. Leukemia, specifically. Elizabeth is 17 now. I can remember having similar feelings as you when she was Allie's age. After reading your blog it sounds like you are a great mom and Allie is developing very well! You're going to have those "funk" days but the good days will far outnumber the bad. I'd tell you not to be so hard on yourself but the good moms usually are.. :) Best, Nicki Harris

Grandpa Hugh & Granma Connie said...

Sandy, oh dear Sandy. Just last night I met a friend of Trisha's who is now teaching special ed. She was telling me about her Down Syndrone students (not knowing about our Allie). She told me of an 8th grader who is winning dance competions in Chicago but has few verbal skills. Her motor skills are above all averages. Maybe I was suppose to see her because of you. You are the most intune and wonderful Mom I know. Let the Lord take care of Allie's learning speed and you just rejoice and enjoy each moment with her. Your love is enormous and it shows. More later, Love Connie