I could hear the sound of the school bus approaching. This time of day is always an adventure. What are the girls going to say about their school day? Will I only hear about the food they ate? Or about what happened during recess? Or will they tell me something new and exciting? The girls slowly walked up to the porch. I wasn’t prepared for what I heard.
Hope: There’s hot dog buns in my backpack.
Mikayla: I hurt my butt at school.
I laughed so hard I nearly fell off the bench I was sitting on. I didn’t expect to hear either of those things. When I finally composed myself I asked Mikayla what happened. She said “I fell off the slide and landed in the weeds. It hurt” I told her I was sorry and asked if she was alright. She said “I’m ok.” So I moved on to Hope and asked her why she had hot dog buns in her backpack. She didn’t know. Sure enough there were hot dog buns in her backpack. I unzipped Mikayla’s backpack and found a loaf of bread. What in the world? I had a slight moment of panic. The thought that perhaps my girls were kleptomaniacs was racing through my mind. I took Mikayla’s folder out of her backpack and began to read about her day. There was a note that said a local organization had donated the bread to send home with the kids. I moved on to Hope’s folder and found a note from her aide explaining the hot dog buns were from the same organization. That’s good to know. The next time I find food in their backpacks I won’t panic.
All evening Mikayla complained about her butt hurting. We were getting ready for bed and Hope looked over at Mikayla and said “The neck doctor fixed my neck. The butt doctor can fix your butt!” And then she giggled. The girls clinical psychologist has labeled Hope as a slapstick comedienne. Yep. That’s pretty accurate. I don’t remember the last time I laughed that hard. I had trouble falling asleep because I kept cracking up. The next day we went out to celebrate Brynna’s birthday. As we drove by a McDonald’s Mikayla said “Sprite makes my butt feel better.” Nice try, sister. Now drink your water. Laughter filled our van. Maybe we have two slapstick comediennes on our hands. Interesting.
On the Friday before Labor Day the girls were very anxious when they got home. They were told there would be no school on Monday. They kept asking over and over again “No school on Monday? No school on Monday?” Yes, there is no school on Monday. When the girls get anxious they talk nonstop. When the girls talk nonstop I get anxious. After about 48 hours of listening to nonstop talking I was getting pretty edgy. And I didn’t have any chocolate hidden in my closet. This is not going to be good. It was bedtime and Hope was going on and on about something. I said “Hope, you have to stop talking!” She looked at me with her little, sweet face and she said “I don’t want to stop talking.” Then she continued what she was saying without missing a beat. Ok. That was obviously not my best parenting moment. If I had consumed a little bit of chocolate my response probably would’ve been much better.
I can’t help but think about how far they’ve come. Mikayla and Hope have expressive and receptive language disorder as well as language processing disorder. I used to wonder if I would ever be able to have a conversation with them. Or if they would ever talk in complete sentences. And I’m now seeing both of those things happen. Mikayla said “I hurt my butt at school.” Just a few years ago she would’ve said “hurt butt”. Hope said “I don’t want to stop talking.” Not long ago she would’ve said “don’t want to”. There was a time when we were trying to get them to say three word sentences. And on this beautiful, sunny day in 2017 my girls walk up to the front porch and say “There’s hot dog buns in my backpack.” and “I hurt my butt at school.” Those are both huge sentences. Years of speech therapy brought us to this day. I’m not proud of the moment when I told Hope to stop talking. But yet that moment makes me smile. My girls can talk until they completely wear me out. And it’s a miracle.