Hope said the most beautiful sentence that I’ve ever heard. She ran up to me and said “I spilled Sprite on the floor!” I clapped. I cheered. She smiled and she was proud. I sat there in amazement and I even wondered if I was dreaming. Did I hear her correctly? Did she really say what I think she said? I was so wrapped up in celebrating that I didn’t even think to check on the mess.
Why would that sentence make me so happy? Hope has articulation disorder. So this sentence is a reason to clap my hands, blow up some balloons, and throw a party. Just a few months ago Hope would have said “I pilled prite on the floor!” Putting the “s” on the front of a word was not something that she was able to spontaneously do. This sentence had 2 s-blend words in a row. And she said them smoothly. It was a huge moment. Hope’s speech therapists were excited and amazed when I told them what she had said.
The next day we were driving home from Easter Seals. Hope became irritated with Mikayla and she said “You’re bad”. Mikayla said “No, I’m cute!” Then Mikayla began to talk lickety-split and it was getting on Hope’s nerves. So Hope screamed “Stop talking!!!!!” Mikayla very calmly said “No, I want my mouth open!” Brett and I looked at each other, smiled, and shared a really good laugh together.
Then Mikayla yelled “Stop touching my seat!” and Hope said “You’re tupid!” Well rats. She left the “s” off of stupid. Wait a minute. She knows she’s not supposed to say stupid. I wiped the smile off my face and I reminded Hope that she’s not supposed to say stupid. She very sweetly said “I’m sorry, Mommy.”
This is what life looks like at our house. It’s often 2 steps forward and 1 step back. One day Hope can say two s-blend words in a row. The next day she will leave the “s” off of a word and she doesn’t even notice. But even if the girls are taking 2 steps forward and 1 step back, they are still making progress. Some days seem to be filled with only steps backwards. Those days are totally frustrating. I eat chocolate and I remind myself of the progress that they’ve made on other days.
I took the girls to a doctor’s appointment yesterday. We were in the bathroom after the appointment and I realized that Hope had her shoes on the wrong feet. I smiled as I helped her switch them around. Yes, she’s 10 years old and she sometimes still gets her shoes on the wrong feet. But that honestly doesn’t bother me. I had only told her one time to put her shoes on and she put her shoes on. Not long ago I would tell her to put her shoes on and she would yell “I can’t do it!” She wouldn’t even try to put them on and she would end up crying. So shoes on the wrong feet is actually amazing progress.
Yesterday we went swimming at a friend’s house. Mikayla & Hope have always stood on the steps and just put their feet in the water. They don’t like water splashed in their faces so they’ve never actually got in the pool. With a little coaxing from big sister they decided to get in the pool. They were both smiling and having the time of their life. They talked about the swimming pool party the whole way home. Progress is sometimes just two wet swimsuits and two girls with silly grins on their faces.
Our girls have taught me that progress can be very slow and steady. It doesn’t come overnight. It can even seem nonexistent. But then suddenly when I least expect it, the girls will do something amazing that makes me clap, cheer, and celebrate. Yes, I can even cheer over spilled Sprite. And it makes me smile.