It is so interesting to me how our brains work, how they grow and learn and adapt. You don’t fully understand what it’s like to be a child until you see a child who is learning and growing and absorbing everything within view. When Mya was a baby, she spent the first two years of her life in a cast or a brace or recovering from procedures. I spent a lot of that time worried about her physical abilities, thinking she would walk late and not be able to climb stairs and fall behind in her physical milestones, but what I failed to realize, is that growth will happen, and the mind will adapt. Mya was an early talker, her vocabulary was well above typical kids her age, spouting off sentences before she was two. As her physical abilities stayed in a holding pattern, waiting to heal, the rest had time to grow. Since she wasn’t working on walking and running and jumping, her mind took the lead and led her on a path of vocabulary, social skills that are still her strongest ability. And the walking came, all of those physical skills I was worried about arrived, just a little late. But her mind wasn’t taking a break, it used that time to focus on something else.
Ellie has always been physical. When I was pregnant she constantly moved, kicking and rolling. I missed her movement after her birth. She had been in constant rhythm since early in the pregnancy. Once born, she continued on that path. As she learned to walk and run and dance, while exceptionally proud of her accomplishments, I felt the pull of parental worry, she isn’t talking. There are no words. I felt guilty for still wanting more. I should feel immensely pleased with her amazing physical strength, but as parents we want everything for our kids, and I was worried about speech. Our physical therapist told me, “she is working on running, when she conquers that her mind can focus on speech.” And just when I had forgotten, when I had resolved to let her abilities shine in their own time, she started talking. This past week Ellie had made amazing strides in her social development. She is saying “hi” on a regular basis. She is calling for mama, which she never use to do. She pointed to a glass of milk and said “mil.” She is copying my sounds and referring to Mya as “iya,” making Mya’s day every time she says it. And the other day I held Ellie in my arms and I squeezed her as tight as I could and I swear with a full heart that she said “happy.”
A constant battle with timelines. As a kid I felt like my birthday was too far away, it would never come, but every year it did, and I’m finding that time is moving faster and faster. Our minds know where attention is needed. Ellie’s mind worked on physical strength and once that was under control it felt it could focus on her social abilities. As Mya sat in a cast, playing with puzzles on the floor, her mind focussed on her vocabulary. Giving each skill it’s necessary devotion. I’m working on expectations and worry, our bodies and minds are smarter than I give them credit for. Throw away the deadlines for growth, I am learning there is no limit on what our minds can do.
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