Tuesday, March 19, 2013

My Expectations vs Their Ability

I've been thinking a lot lately about expectations that we put on our children. Scratch that. I can't speak for any of you. I've been thinking a lot about expectations that I put on MY children.

For example:

Addison has Down syndrome, so she probably won't be able to_______by_______if ever at all.

Carter does not have Down syndrome, so he probably will be able to_______by______.

Specifically for me right now, I have been thinking about speech. I wrote not too long ago how frustrating it is to have a three year old screaming in a heap on the floor instead of communicating simple concepts to me. In my mind, I secretly wondered if maybe this would be my constant reality with Addison. Being nonverbal is not out of the question, but I think where I went wrong is that expected it.

We have worked SO HARD on speech with very little reward for...three years. I know that parenting requires patience. I know that parenting any child requires a lot of work with delayed rewards. But I think that parenting a child with delays takes this to a whole new level.

To have a three year old with fewer spoken words than I can text in ten seconds is tough. So without realizing it, I placed expectations on her and let myself forget to hope. We hadn't seen any explosions of speech yet, so perhaps it was never going to happen?

(On the other hand, the fact that Carter didn't say "I love you so much Mommy" within the first few hours of his life was hugely shocking to me. I mean, he didn't have a diagnosis, so what was he waiting for??? HA)

With this in mind, you can imagine my amazement when the conversation at the dinner table the other night went something like this:

Addison: "Chicken"
Carter: "Chicken"
(both said this word for the first time in response to the chicken on the menu that night)
Addison: "Meow"
Carter: "Cat"
Addison: "Mooooo"
Carter: "Cow"

Then they both broke out into legendary monkey noises and arm waves, interspersed with frequent giggles.

Then, yesterday at Costco, I handed Addison a pretzel and she said "Tank You."

Not signing it. SHE SAID IT. (we'll work on adding in the "h") (-:

A few minutes later she said: "Doggy"
Me: "We can't buy a doggy at Costco, silly"
Addison (the only logical next thought): "Baby"
Me: HAHAHAHAHAHA....let's check the poultry aisle

She now greets everyone with an exuberant "HI!" which just melts my heart

And then this morning when I heard she was awake, she was standing next to her door, signing all done. When I asked her if she was ready to get up, she SAID "All Done."

She is saying new words right and left. She is extremely competitive, so if Carter breaks out a new word, she is not far behind with her own version of it. He stares at her adoringly when she does, and she smiles triumphantly.

Therefore, since Carter is entering an explosion of speech= Addison is entering an explosion of speech.

And I am awed. And humbled. And unbelieving that I was so fast to expect when they had plans of their own, in a timetable of their own, with a flair of amazing of their own.

I have a feeling that this is a parenting lesson that I'm going to have to learn over and over again. But for right now? I am taking it a day at a time. Praising where I see progress, but not limiting that progress to something inside my head that is so quick to pile on expectations.

MY CHILDREN ARE TALKING!!!!....well, one well placed "moo" at a time anyway. I'll take it!

1 comment:

  1. Hi again, Speech Pathologist here. You have great insight into this wonderful time of language development! I'm thrilled for the fun and progress your family is making. I have no doubt the signing is helping to facilitate the speech skills. Keep it up! You won't be sorry. Both of my typically developing boys signed before talking and now as teenagers, language skills continue to be a strength for them both. You are a great mom, Chicken!

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