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The medicine worked. She felt better. Still not 100% back to her “normal” self, but better. The counseling worked too. The tools They had learned were coming in very handy. Luckily, neither one of Them felt threatened or upset by the counseling; They were just thankful for the help. It felt like their relationship was rejuvenated somewhat. As much as any marriage that was eight years in with three kids under five could feel rejuvenated anyway. It made them feel a bit better to know that the counselor assured them that, statistically speaking, having pre-schoolers and toddlers was the roughest time in a marriage. And they had three!!
Baby Girl was continuing to add words to her vocabulary. They weren’t crystal clear though. Not even close. And she didn’t have a lot of words yet. They were still getting by with a few words, signs and pictures. She was the only one who could understand her 99.9% of the time. But there were times when She had no idea what Baby Girl was trying to say. It was very frustrating for both of them. One time, Baby Girl was asking for “waffles”, but at this point in time all of her “f”s were pronounced as “s” so she kept saying “Wassles!” and it wasn’t very clear at all. She had no clue what Baby Girl wanted.
Wassles! Wassles! Wassles!
Finally, Baby Girl got so frustrated she walked over to the toaster, pointed at it and said “WASSLES!” She finally got it and gave Baby Girl a huge hug for being so patient with Her; then She promptly made her some yummy “wassles”. She was so happy that there were words, but at times it was bittersweet because it reminded Her of how frustrating it must be for Her little girl. To have to work so hard to get others to understand what you want to say all the time must be exhausting. It was moments like these that almost brought Her to Her knees. To know how very hard Her little girl would have to work throughout her whole life was daunting, devastating and exhausting all at the same time.
Because Baby Girl was still very tiny for her age, and had just began to walk and talk, They decided to keep her in pre-school one more year. Technically, she should have been starting Kindergarten!
Which meant that she and her baby brother would now be in the same grade as they were only one year apart.
This troubled Her a bit too. Would Little Man be ok with being the same grade? Would they have to be in separate classes? Would it be weird for them to share the same friends…if Baby Girl had friends? She had to stop herself from these thoughts and just go with it. Those kindergarteners looked like they could eat Baby Girl they were so big and fast. They erred on the side of caution.
However, it made pre-school a little more trying that year. Baby Girl was no dummy; she knew she was queen of the castle at pre-school. This was her third year there and she knew how to work the system. She made them earn their money that year. Part of it was boredom, She was sure. Part of it was being the oldest and having new friends come in to the school. Part of it was having Little Man there with her. But, man, she kept them hopping. Plus, she kept adding to her skill repetoire. This was wonderful but, at the same time, it provided more challenges as she became more verbal and mobile.
Baby Girl had orthotics from the time she was a baby. They started out going all the way to her knees; by this time they had gone down to just above the ankle. She was still pretty wobbly on her feet; she kind of walked like a drunken sailor. But she was walking!!
After school had been in session for a month or so, it became apparent that Little Man was becoming good friends with one little girl, M. The teacher even made a comment to Her and M’s Mom that they needed to get them together as they were “two peas in a pod”. So M’s Mom wrote Her a note and asked if Little Man could come over to play. He went and they had a ball. A couple of week’s later, She asked if M could come to their house. A great friendship was being born here. One day, after they had had a couple of playdates, M’s Mom called to talk to Her.
“I didn’t know Little Man had a sister that was in their class too! Would she like to come over and play this week too?”
“Well…did M tell you she has special needs?”
“Well…you still want her to come over and play?”
“Well…that would be great. But I just started a new job and I have a 1-year-old that still naps so we’d have to figure out a time for all of us to come. What works for you?”
“I’ll just pick Baby Girl and Little Man up from school and bring them home to my house. You can be home and work while Sweet Pea naps. How does that sound?”
She knew at that moment that She loved this woman and that they were going to be wonderful friends. She was asking to have Baby Girl over to play even though she had special needs…and She didn’t have to stay! Baby Girl had a playdate!! She couldn’t believe it.
Later on, M’s Mom and She would laugh at the fact that She let Baby Girl go to M’s house without knowing them for all that long. She said She was just so happy that Baby Girl got invited to a friend’s house that She didn’t even think about it!! It was truly the start of a beautiful friendship…between Little Man, M and Baby Girl and Her and M’s Mom. Beautiful.
There were days when She would weep with sadness and exhaustion over Baby Girl. There were days when She would weep with joy over Baby Girl. Luckily, the good days were starting to outnumber the bad by far. It was a nice feeling, sort of like settling in. They were making strides one step at a time.