Isabella Grace-ious

Isabella Grace
The story of the girl who changes my life

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Feeling Blue

Feeling a little melancholy this week... It's just about that time again where I start becoming hyper aware of all of the things Bella should be doing at this age. And my awareness of it this time around has nothing to do with what Isabella is or isn't doing. It's what everyone else is...

Got a card in the mail yesterday for my friend Sherry's daughter's 4th birthday party. Sherry and I met in kindergarten and have been lifelong friends since. How excited were we that we were pregnant with our first kids at the same time, and ended up both having girls?? We just assumed that they would grow up and be as good as friends as we are... Her daughter Kaitlyn was born 4 and 1/2 months before Isabella. And the two of them couldn't be more different. Where Bella is at least a year behind developmentally, Kaitlyn is at least 2 ahead. So to say the least, it has been pretty painful getting together with Sherry for play dates with Kaitlyn because she is one child that can make it painfully obvious at how late Isabella has been on reaching some of those damn milestones.

So back to the birthday invitation. I felt like I was punched in the gut even before I opened it. Because written on the back in that typical and adorable childlike scrawl was my daughter's name "Bella" with hearts all around it. Should have been cute. Instead I wanted to cry. Because here is Kaitlyn, writing and drawing and SPELLING, and then there is Bella who struggles to hold the crayon and who has trouble getting her weak muscles to press down on the paper hard enough to make much of a mark. We are just working on getting her to get beyond scribbling to draw lines down and across (and hopefully some day CIRCLES!!) and BAM, here comes another child who has once again blown her out of the water on her drawing and writing abilities.

And it wasn't just someone else's child this week who made me feel this way. It was one of my own. Noah has decided this week that it is time to start talking. In a major way. Last week he was saying "mama, dada,tantu (thank you) baba,cheese,all done, nite nite, and hi"...this week he has exploded and added "fan, shoe, nose, eyes, titer (sister), tuhta (tucker-our cat), kitty, byebye, more, tinty (stinky),no no no....." the list could go on and on. Because every time I say a word or make a sound, he imitates it. And what should be a proud mama moment where I call everyone I know and write it in his baby book is actually a sad mama moment where I mourn the fact that he is thisclose to by-passing what Isabella could say when she turned 3.

And it isn't just his language that is catching up. His gross and fine motor abilities have actually passed her by already. He is jumping and actually getting his feet to leave the ground some of the time. He is walking on his tip-toes. He is balancing on bricks while walking. He is opening doors by turning the handle and turning the cap of diaper rash cream to get it off. He is putting pegs in holes that are barely visible and getting them in there every time. He is feeding himself completely, and actually gets mad when I try to help him. He is blowing out candles. He is walking across the couch without holding on to anything and doesn't stumble or lose his balance once. And again, this list could go on and on...

This is all a double stab in the heart. Because I feel SO guilty that I can't have my fist reaction to seeing all of this be pride and happiness. I feel sad that Isabella is still not doing some of these things. How will this affect their relationship later on when Noah is more like the "big sibling" who has to help Isabella on the playground or at school? And here I was thinking Isabella was sooo close to catching up to where she "needs" to be when along comes a 17 month old who proves me totally wrong. I feel bad for Noah that we celebrate every TINY accomplishment that Isabella makes but act like Noah's development is just something to take for granted (just this week we were clapping and screaming excitedly when she took her own pull up off...but I actually said "nonono Noah" when he took his diaper off last month). It hurts to see how much Isabella has to work to accomplish something that comes so naturally to Noah that we don't even know when he actually started to do it.

Paradoxically, I am so grateful to have a child like Noah to help Isabella. There are so many things that she wasn't even attempting to do until she saw Noah do them. Like opening the sliding back door. Or climbing on the cedar chests to reach the light switches. Or bending her knees to attempt to jump. And it has been this way since Noah came along. Just a month after he was born she was trying harder to talk so she could sing to him. And the first time she ever attempted to open the butt cream tube was when Noah was a newborn and she was helping me change his diaper(without success yet but she still she tries).

I know I have so much to be thankful for. And as sad as it makes me some days, I am honestly actually thankful that Isabella is who she is because it really slows us all down and makes us appreciate the little but insanely beautiful things about life that would have normally passed us by unnoticed. To appreciate that learning how to run and speak and blow out a candle are all things that are amazing feats, not just something to check off in the baby book as "accomplished". I think I start to feel this way sometimes because even tho I know that Isabella has something different about her that makes her have to work harder at life, as the day to day routine comes and goes, I often find myself thinking that maybe she doesn't have anything wrong at all. Maybe one day we will look at her and say "wow, she is totally caught up! Maybe all her delays were just because she was so sick for the first two years of her life after all!" But then weeks like these come along and remind me of the truth. That Isabella has "special needs".

It helps to know that those same "special needs" that weaken her muscles so that she still drools when she is tired, and that make her run so awkwardly that she looks like Kramer from Seinfeld when he enters the room, or that make her work extra hard to do all those things in therapy that she happily chugs away at every time are the same "special needs" that make her the "sweetest child" her preschool aid has ever met. They are the reason she sees something funny in everything we do. They are the reason she learned to sing before she could even utter a recognizable word. They are the reason she doesn't quit trying because she is embarrassed that she still can't do things. They are the reason she wakes up every morning and climbs into my bed and squeezes my neck and says "hi mommy!" And when I sigh that unbelievably happy and content sigh she responds with "ohh mommy. I love you too"...because she knows how I feel by just hearing me sigh. This child of mine doesn't just need in a special way. She gives in a special way too.

So, while I'm feeling a little blue, I'm also feeling a little yellow and pink and purple (her favorite colors today, she says)...because today she said (without any prompting) "can you read me this book please, mommy?"....her first 8 word sentence that was spoken so clearly that ANYONE could have understood it. And it is moments like these that remind me that I'm the lucky one. I get her for my daughter, and all of those mommy's who have children that are "perfect" are missing out.

1 comment:

  1. bawling here. that was really sweet. although, i'd like to interject that "perfection" might be overrated. she is perfect... perfectly isabella. :)