A couple of nights ago, I dreamed that Julianna was talking to me.
Usually when I dream about my kids’ development, they’ve skipped all the way to mastery of a skill. I’ve dreamed about Julianna walking before, for instance. But this time, it was different—much more realistic. She was using fragmented, two-word groups, like “Mama…baby.” It was so real that the dream was a jolt of electricity through my system, just like I would feel if she opened her mouth in waking life and said…well, said anything.
She’s desperate to communicate lately, and we’re desperate to understand her. She’s switched focus again, and has been learning and using lots of signs…but she’s also sick, and there’s been a lot of whining, which of course drives a parent bonkers. For three days I let her get away without eating the same dinner as the rest of the family. Then I cracked down and told her she would eat what the rest of us eat, or not at all. (Mean old Mommy.) There was a lot of whining. Christian took her on his lap and tried to use his Daddy influence, with limited success. Then came the diaper, and we realized why she was whining…and we stopped trying to get her to eat food she didn’t want!
It’s a difficult thing, to have a child whose body skills are at one level, while the emotional development is so much farther ahead. Difficult for us as parents, but probably much more so for her. Can you imagine the frustration of knowing what you want to say or do, and being completely incapable of doing it? Of knowing what you need, and being unable to communicate it?
Well, all things in their proper season, I suppose. I don’t see Julianna’s life as lacking because of her Down syndrome—it abounds in love, beauty, joy and richness. I don’t wish her to be “more” or “better” than she is. But I do long for the day when she will run into my arms for a hug, like her big brother…for the day when I’ll get to hear “Mommy, I wuv you.” Or even, “Tummy hurt.”
That day is a long way off. I have a feeling that her up-and-coming sibling will probably beat her to complete sentences, for all that s/he will be two years younger. In the meantime, we’ll just keep doing the best we can.
And in the meantime, she’s having her own brand of firsts: first hair cut. What a cutie I have! (Sorry it’s a little out of focus.)