So the deck isn't quite finished yet, but it looks beautiful! One of the bonuses of building our deck over zillions of weekends is that we (and the kids) get to spend that time with Shawn's parents. They live in the next state, so we don't seem them that often. Shawn's dad is helping (or guiding, bossing around, something like that) Shawn build the deck. Jamie tends to monopolize Mimi's attention when she is here and Clare is very Mommy-attached, so when I needed to go to Target, I took Jamie with me. Gave us some time together and gave Clare some time with her grandmother without competing with her older brother. When we got home, Clare and Mimi were taking a walk in her little red car (Clare was in the car, Mimi was walking). Jamie returned with a big lollipop, which Clare promptly wanted. So I gave her a little dum dum pop instead. I unwrapped the lollipop and held it out to her. You would have thought it was gold - she snatched that pop out of my hand and stuck it in her mouth so fast! Over the next twenty minutes, Clare proceeded to eat her lollipop. This involved lots of waving the pop high over her head, holding the pop by the sticky part in her hand and waving the stick high over her head, sucking on the pop with no hands and a big grin while shaking her head "no" continually, and red-tinted drool everywhere. When Clare was done with the pop (and she sucked it to nothingness), she was a mess! Red and sticky everywhere! Her hands were so sticky that she closed them into a fist and couldn't get them open again! So right into the tub went Clare. I have to say it was the cutest thing I have seen in a long time and made us laugh so hard. The pure joy on Clare's face from one little lollipop.
Clare also made a big leap with the way she plays. When the Early Intervention evaluators came to our house a few weeks ago, one of the big things they noticed was that Clare would not release toys. She would not drop blocks into a bucket or anything like that. All of a sudden, she has started doing that. I first noticed it when she had OT this past week, but then I couldn't get her to do it again for us. Last night, we had some quiet time together (just Clare and I) before bed. Without prompting, Clare emptied her Sesame Street barn shape sorter, then started putting the shapes back into the barn. She didn't put them through the openings, but would open the barn door, drop a shape in, close the barn door. Open the door again, drop another shape in, you get the picture. Every time she dropped a shape in, she would look up at me with a big grin. Like see, Mom, I know what I am doing! It's such a little thing, but having a child who is developmentally delayed forces you to pay attention to these little things.
When I was pregnant with Clare, a friend of mine (who already had two children) made a comment on how she missed so much of her second child's milestones. She obviously noted the big ones like crawling and walking, but the little ones passed her by because life was much busier with two. Days can be a blur sometimes and you don't realize that your child just learned how to stack rings. This is not the case with Clare. Because her development has been slower (and we're focused on it, especially on the little things such as releasing toys), we have the chance to marvel and clap at Clare's smaller triumphs. To me, that's been a precious gift. To be thrilled when Clare drops shapes in a little barn or laugh till my sides hurt over her joy of eating a lollipop. If Clare was "normal," would I just miss all that? Would it not mean anything to me? I don't know because that is not my life, but it's one more thing that makes me glad I have the life I have. It's a time-worn cliche, but it truly is the little things that count.