Olivia has this small keyboard type thing, all plastic and garish. She rediscovers it every few months and plays with it with dedication for about a week until it gets taken back to the toy room where she forgets about it for another couple of months.
She found it on Tuesday, dragged it downstairs and played with it for an hour before her bath.
When we returned to the scene of the keyboard after bath, she found that the batteries had died.
I told her I’d replace them in the morning.
Morning came and we discovered we had no extra AA batteries in the house. I told her I’d pick some up when I was next at Walmart.
When I got home on Wednesday afternoon, Olivia flew into the kitchen shrieking, “I love you, I love you, I love you.”
It was lovely to know that my younger child adored me so much.
Except, no. She was expecting me to produce some batteries that I could then place in the keyboard so she could serenade us all. Nope. I hadn’t made it to Walmart that day and so no batteries were to be had. Sorry kid.
She took it well and I promised I’d find a reason to go to Walmart on Thursday, even if that reason was solely to pick up batteries. Instead of pounding the keys and singing into the microphone, we went outside and enjoyed a sunny, if very windy, afternoon in our backyard.
It occurred to me as she was running to me shouting her love for the world (or, you know, me, Tom and Alyssa) to hear that I so wish that some of her early therapists could see her now.
Sara, her speech therapist would be so impressed. She’d love to hear Olivia’s voice, her demands, her singing. She’d be thrilled that Olivia not only understands everything we say, she holds her own in long, drawn out conversations.
Trish, her physical therapist, would love seeing her climb up the slide and flipping with no hands on her mattress. She’d be so impressed with O’s core strength and her determination to master any skill her sister has mastered before her.
Cristin, her occupational therapist would be impressed to see Olivia feed herself Cheerios with a spoon, spilling nary an o falling to the floor.
Heck, even Linda, the developmental therapist we only had for about six months when O was a year to a year and a half would be impressed that Olivia no longer puts everything in her mouth. Ha! That woman, as nice as she was, was so weird about how Olivia wanted to taste everything. At a year old, that was actually very developmentally normal, just as now, at eight, not needing to taste everything is very normal.
Olivia started pulling her hair when she was about two years old. Cristin, Sara and Trish were still very much a part of our lives at that time. They each tried to give us advice on what to do to help Olivia break this habit. Nothing helped by the time she aged out of the program that provided these therapists. When they stopped seeing her, her hair was like this:
We’d had to cut it twice using Tom’s clippers, buzzing it to one quarter of an inch long.
This morning I braided O’s hair into two braids that ended in low ponytails. The ponytails hung almost to her waist. She loved the style, prancing around telling us how long her hair looked done like that. She loves having long hair. She feels pretty. I’m so, so grateful for whatever change took place in her brain that helped her kick the habit of sucking her thumb and pulling out her hair.
Oh, if they could see her now they’d be so happy for her. If I could see them now, I’d thank them from the bottom of my heart for all they did for her, for the strategies they gave her and us to help her build her language base, her core strength, her fine motor skills. She’s come so, so far and we’re so lucky to have had the team we’ve had from the start.
Good therapists are hard to find and we found some of the very best.