It really doesn't seem like all that long ago that coaxing a word from Kimberly was a considerable feat. As her third birthday came and went, there was only an occasional utterance. I found myself wondering if the silence wasn't, in part, by choice. Kimberly was always watching, observing our interactions with her and each other, with a noticeable intensity. She responded to our requests in action, only some of the time though. In situations like this, it can really be challenging for parents to have a clear picture of what the child understands and what is getting "lost in translation". In an effort to improve her communication skills we worked on signing. Kimberly particularly liked a few Signing Time videos we had. Watching those was a distraction tool we used during mealtime, so those shows were viewed daily in our house. I recall vividly, sitting across the table from Kimberly about two months after her third birthday and asking her sign for me...I asked her "what's the sign for eat" ...fingers to her mouth, she did it perfectly. I proceeded with about 5-6 more requests, and in a moment of rare compliance, she got them all right! I was over the moon!!! Our speech therapist at the time had delicately suggested to me that her "primary" form of communication may not be verbal. The progress with signing encouraged me that it would be ok. All too often, we take for granted when our children grow and learn at a typical rate. Beyond the "first word" the ability of our little toddlers to converse with us becomes commonplace too quickly. I can tell you from experience that if your child has to work a little harder and it takes a little longer you will savor the achievement ten items more. Another clear memory for me was when we were visiting with my parents in the mountains during the winter before Kimberly's third birthday. The woodstove was "cooking" as we like to say, Kimberly walked up to it and repeated a motion I have done a thousand times...putting your hand out towards the stove and saying "hot hot". My dad was sitting right there and flew up out of his chair..."she said HOT!" It was wonderful to see the sheer excitement in his eyes to hear her speak. I mention all this in a way to accentuate the stark contrast we experience today with Kimbo. She can be a Chatty Cathy for sure. Even better she likes to insert a particularly dramatic comment on occasion. We usually find ourselves laughing out loud, to her delight! I have mentioned before about her standard response to me when I return from a work trip, "you came back"....as if there was a doubt! The other day I presented her with a toy I found at the thrift store that has a texture she prefers. Her response to me, a breathy "you saved my life"....a little over the top, but I'm glad you like it! Today as we sat in the doctor's office getting checked out for pink eye she leaned over to me and almost whispers " let's get out of here"....I'm with you, girl! Let's roll.
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