This summer, I reminded myself that last summer, we still had no idea what Lilli was thinking. We did not know she was going to be able to read and communicate. She has reached so many goals and done so many new things since this time last year. We are so thankful.
Lilli continued to practice typing this summer, without the ipad. Lilli practiced typing on a touchscreen, the laptop keyboard, and flat pieces of paper with a keyboard printed on it. She worked with Leslie her teacher and Morgan her therapist all summer, to keep those skills she had at the end of the school year.
Lilli's communication with us is brief, because we don't have the ipad right now. But her attempts are encouraging, and motivate us to keep on going. She is a bright, curious, opinionated eight year old with words that are just bursting to get out. It's just that the slow typing has not caught up with the huge flow of thoughts and words inside of her, and it frustrates her. I feel like this summer, communicating with her was a little like trying to funnel a river through a garden hose - or maybe even a drinking straw. I pray that one day soon, the flood gates will open up.
Despite the challenges, we are still often able to figure out what Lilli wants. With some planning, she can tell us what she wants to buy at the mall. We can ask her what she wants for lunch. She can tell us that she has to use the restroom. Last summer, before she could type, we went to Disneyworld and I panicked about how she would feel about going there. I could only guess what she might be thinking and feeling. The next time we go to Disneyworld, (oh yes, we WILL be going back one day!) I will just be able to ask her.
Here are some pictures from Lilli's summer. There are long stories behind some of them, but the stories will have to wait for "one day," when I have time to write them all down.
|Another summer of swimming with a tube - doing great with learning how to kick and move herself around the pool!|
|Playing in the fountains. This is pretty close to heaven for my kids.|
|Lilli with her ABA therapist, Morgan. Morgan was with us almost every day, all summer. We battled summer craziness together (all three kids, but mostly Josh causes the craziness) and she kept me sane. She's awesome.|
-Lilli eating her first hamburger, ever in her life. (She liked it!) She has been trying all kinds of new-to-her foods, such as sloppy joes and steak sandwiches. This weekend she typed to me: "You like good food." I interpret this to mean that she likes to eat what I like to eat. She must think my cooking is pretty OK, and I take this as a huge compliment from an eight year old. Also I packed her many chicken salad and egg salad sandwiches this summer, and we were able to take a few day trips and have picnics. If this sounds weird that I am happy about what Lilli ATE this summer, it's because of how far she has come. Only a few years ago, road trips meant we were still stopping at convenience stores to heat up her pureed meals in a jar. I am so thankful to feed her a real sandwich out of a cooler on a roadtrip.This never gets old for me.
-Morgan, Leslie, and me reading "big girl" chapter books to Lilli all summer - Nancy Drew, Beverly Cleary, and others. I'm reading "A Little Princess" to her right now, and Leslie is reading "Black Beauty" while Morgan reads her Nancy Drew mysteries. Again, I shake my head and think about how just last summer we were still putting out board books like "Brown Bear Brown Bear" and "Elmo's 123 Count with Me" for her.
We did not go anywhere for vacation this summer as a family. However, my sister blessed me with a long girls weekend away. I spent a few glorious, peaceful days in Florida with her and my niece Kelley. I read two books in four days, slept in a big bed all to myself (read: no kids coming in and waking me up and flopping around next to me all night), and OTHER people cooked meals for me and I didn't have to feed anyone else or do the dishes. It was the first time I have ever left all three kids for more than a few hours. Yes I said "ever." I don't know how to describe how much it meant to me.
I needed this small break so very much. I would love to take a long weekend away with my husband. But right now we do not have that luxury for several reasons. Many parents who have small children can get to a point when they can leave their kids with someone for the night, or for the weekend. Jasen and I have not been able to do that yet. But hopefully one day, we will.
It was a good summer.