Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Mama. Tay. Sunshine!

I know this probably doesn't sound like a big deal to you, but it's a HUGE deal to us.

Sunshine wants to play with me! For a bit over the last week, she's been coming to me, taking my hand, and saying:

"Mama. Tay. Sunshine!"

And even though I play with her all day, and even though between nursing our 3-month-old and trying to keep the house tidy and cooking and laundry and being generally lazy I'm beat and just want to sit on my ass, I do play with her, because, well, how could you *not*?

The past few months, I've been quite envious when reading parenting boards and milestone charts when people describe their "bossy" toddlers. On lousy days, it makes me both sad and angry- "my 18-month-old is soooooo needy! How can I make her stop asking me for everything under the sun?"

Oh, lady. You don't know how great you have it. (I suppose this is a common feeling in parents of atypically-developing children- frustration and jealousy of the "little" things other parents take for granted. If your child can't walk, it's painful to hear someone gripe about their toddler climbing the stairs. If your child can't speak, it's painful to hear someone wish their kid would just. Shut. Up. One of the great things about being a "special needs parent" is that you celebrate the little things, and learn to appreciate and cherish the many wonderful things your kid *can* do.)

When Sunshine was 6-months-old, we went and visited Mr. Husband's mom in Alabama. His step-brother's wife and her two little girls, 8-months and 4-years, were staying there at that time, too. The 8-month-old would stand in her crib and cry, "Mama! Mama! Mama!" until she was picked up.  I remember thinking that it was so cool that a tiny little baby could do such a thing when our girl didn't even really babble.

Over the last 18 months, I remember looking back at that little one's cries to her mother less and less fondly. When Sunshine was 8 months and not calling for me, I figured it was because she was busy cruising and crawling. When she was 12 months and not calling, I thought maybe it was because she was putting all her energy into walking. When she was 15 months and not calling, or even saying "mama" at all, I started to remember that sweet little 8-month-old with bitterness. When Sunshine turned 18-months and 3-days, and she called for me from her bed as her dadda was laying her down, I remember how my heart felt like it would explode with happiness, and, I am ashamed to admit it, sadness for not hearing it sooner.

She still doesn't ask for me frequently. Mr. Husband usually does her bedtime routine, and if she'd rather play more, she'll cry, "Mama! Mama!" but once she's upstairs, she's fine. She doesn't seek a lot of comfort or assurance from us, but she has, in the past month, decided that mama's kisses make every boo-boo, even really old ones that have long since healed, all better. She's learning to ask for help more and more. And, best of all, she asks me to play with her.

"Mama. Tay. Sunshine!"

Of course Mama will play with Sunshine. Mama would like nothing more.

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