I allowed the words they spoke to keep me up at night. They said the girls aren’t progressing. They’re not doing as well as they were several months ago. It was one of those times when I wished I could put my fingers in my ears, hum a tune, and drown out what they were telling me. I know what they said is true and fear began to grip my heart. But then I began to truly look at our girls and I noticed that they are progressing in everyday life.
Hope crawled into my bed with her iPad and asked me to watch her play Monkey Math. The game showed her 3 different shapes and she was supposed to press the oval. Every time she pressed the oval it gave her 3 new shapes. She was pressing ovals like crazy until she accidentally pressed the wrong shape. She said “Oops…..that was a hexagon. I need to poke the oval.” What? She knows what a hexagon is? I had no idea she knew that.
We were working on auditory memory cards. This is the story that I read individually to the girls.
These were the answers the girls gave me to the questions.
Who has a magic backpack? Hope: Zack Mikayla: Jack (Oh….so close!)
Why is it magic? Hope: Because things won’t break Mikayla: Holds only things that aren’t heavy
If you look inside it, what will you see? Hope: A rubber chicken Mikayla: A cat. Zoe’s too big for the backpack. (Zoe is our cat)
We worked on these same cards last year. The girls could never remember the name of the person mentioned in the story. Remembering names has always been hard for them. But Hope got it right and Mikayla’s answer rhymed with the correct answer. I couldn’t believe it. That’s progress.
Why questions are the hardest questions for our girls to answer. I didn’t expect them to answer the “Why is it magic?” question. But they gave me answers. They weren’t the correct answers but I thought they were good answers.
When Hope blurted out rubber chicken I laughed and she grinned. When Mikayla said Zoe’s too big for the backpack it showed that she’s developing critical thinking skills. Our cat is huge and she wouldn’t fit in a backpack. That’s the truth.
As I was putting the cards back in the case I was thinking about how I answer questions. If I don’t know the answer I will say “I don’t know.” It’s safe to respond that way. I’m certainly not going to blurt out an answer and possibly be wrong. That would be embarrassing and risky. But our girls aren’t afraid to risk. If I ask them a question they’re going to give me an answer. If it’s the wrong answer they don’t care. They just go on with life. If they don’t know the answer then they’re going to make something up. And let’s be honest. Isn’t a backpack with a rubber chicken and a cat in it more fun than a sock, a rock, and a clock? Oh how I need to be more like our girls. They live life and they don’t worry about what anyone thinks.
Progress doesn’t always show up in a 45 minute therapy session. But it shows up in the moments that we’re just living life. It shows up when a little girl recognizes a hexagon. It shows up when a fat cat can’t fit in a backpack. Progress is important. But I’m learning to not worry so much when progress doesn’t show up on a piece of paper. Worrying takes away the joy of living life. And sometimes I just need to stop, laugh at a rubber chicken in a backpack, and savor the grins on the faces of little girls who make my world a better place