You take it for granted when your child, develops according to the well laid out timeline in the pediatrician’s office. You take it for granted when they speak in sentences at 2 and when they potty train at 2 1/2 and when everything goes smoothly. You take it for granted when there are no bumps in the road. You think this is just how things are. That this is how children are.
And then you have a child who is not. A child who isn’t adhering to the timelines and charts. A child who isn’t meeting milestones and for who nothing seems to come easy. And suddenly the road is full of bumps and potholes and detours. And you thought you knew this road so well. You thought you knew what to expect. But now you’re lost.
That’s how these last few years have felt.
I haven’t written much, if at all about, Grace’s “unique circumstances” as her preschool teacher described it last year. It started with a speech delay, that I noticed around a year old when at a well visit I mentioned that she wasn’t saying more than “uh-oh”.
This led to Early Intervention and testing and weekly speech therapy.
And then at our yearly Early Intervention evaluation around 2 1/2, she wasn’t meeting her gross motor milestones and physical therapy was recommended. We entered a waiting list for a PT and then right before she aged out we got 6 weeks of PT.
Aging out of Early Intervention was difficult. It felt like the floor dropped out beneath us. We lost our speech therapist who Grace was fond of, we lost the in-home services that were crucial to balancing working from home and other kids schedules around Graces appointments. I dreaded her third birthday because aging out of EI brought so many complications to our well-laid plans.
She turned 3 in March. We found a new PT and a new speech therapist and a lot of it felt like starting over. Getting Grace comfortable in a new setting that wasn’t home. We had biweekly PT and twice-weekly speech therapy and all of these appointments were possible because I work from home and my job is “flexible”.
This summer felt like a revolving door of appointments with a hearing evaluation thrown in because, hey why not, we had to rule it out. We are doing a lot of ruling out these days (next up ENT).
But as I looked back on this summer with a bit of regret that it wasn’t more fun. I can’t help but see how much progress Grace made this summer. She graduated from PT. She moved out of her crib and into a toddler bed. Her speech has gone from somewhere around 50% intelligible to about 80-90%, though we still have a ways to go with sounds and articulation. She’s speaking in sentences and more often. She has more confidence. She can climb stairs and hold her own on the playground (and actually enjoy the playground). She’s working on potty training.
And she never gives up. She never says she can’t do something. She always wants to do it herself. She’s determined and strong and fierce. She works hard. She makes me proud because when things don’t come easy it’s so much more of an achievement. I was and am always proud of how smart Jackson is and how easily things come for him. But damn it hits you when your kid couldn’t climb the steps at the playground 6 months ago and now is running up and the steps and sliding down the slide.
It’s hard when you read a report and see on paper how far behind your child is. But I’m trying not to focus on that and instead think of how far she has come.