I want to appreciate how far she’s come. I want to be grateful for every word she says. I want to be happy that she can follow me up the stairs and back down and then back up again, talking the entire way, issuing orders requests for a different fancy dress, a different doll, new batteries for her keyboard and potato wedges for dinner if you please.
I want to be able to step out of my tired self and see how lucky we are that she’s here, that she talks to us, that she understands us, that she can walk and run and be silly and read stories and tell us all the thoughts tumbling around in her beautiful head.
But instead I get impatient and annoyed when she doesn’t like the third dress she tried on. The first one was too big, the second was too short and the third was too itchy. I snapped, “Liv! I’m tired of putting dresses on you only to have to take them off you and hang them up. Pick ONE and then we’re done!”
I hate that I make her cry with my harsh words, that she’s becoming so sensitive to my moods and that I yell and get grouchy with her.
I hate that she will ask me if I’m mad at her because it seems to her like I’m always mad at her.
We expect so much from her because she’s already proven that she’s up to the challenge, that she can meet our expectations. Honestly, I don’t think we treat her all that different from how we treat her neuro-typical older sister.
But there are moments when I need to step back, step out of my own irritation and bask in how NORMAL she really is in so many way, how lucky we are that the missing part of that pesky fifth chromosome isn’t really slowing her down at all.
I take Olivia’s health for granted on a daily basis. I take her sense of humor for granted too, the way she’ll get my sarcasm and laugh her awesome belly laugh at something I said, something obnoxious that I should have kept to myself but I’m glad I didn’t because I got to hear her laugh.
I take for granted that she understands everything I say, that she doesn’t have to be ‘talked down’ to. I don’t stop to think about the fact that she might have a hard time making a decision if I give her more than two choices anymore. I just give her the options and expect her to choose.
I need to slow down a little and remember how far we’ve come and how amazing she is.
Just like I need to remember how amazing Alyssa is these days with her twelve year old self.
I am so lucky and I need to remember that.
In my moments of frustration when she’s being ‘picky’ I need to remind myself that this is one moment in time, one amazing moment that I can spend either annoyed with my sweet girl or marveling at the fact that she can tell me that something is too itchy instead of signing the words or even just looking at my imploringly, trying to get me to read her mind. Being verbal is a gift. Having verbal children is a marvel. I need to remember that a little more often.