I have been studying Tera lately. It's not difficult, she's pretty easy on the eyes, and as of late she needs pretty much constant supervision. And I've noticed something; my daughter is amazing. I'm sure that there are many other parents that observe the day to day actions of their children and are amazed as well and I don't have any other children to compare Tera to. But I have to say, when a team of therapists are monitoring and evaluating her every move, literally, all those little actions seem so much more meaningful.
Every milestone Tera has reached has been anticipated. I read my friends' posts on Facebook about how they see evidence of what their children might be doing soon and it's not because they've already passed by the standard age when it happens. For almost every milestone Tera has reached, she's had to work hard and we've had to practice.
Months ago, each one of those milestones still happened independently, but lately, each one of the skills and abilities she has achieved have come together and every time I watch her I am just so amazed. Something so simple as watching her play and reaching for items in a basket full of toys for a specific one, watching her place balls purposefully in her toy and then pushing the right button to make all the balls pop, watching her reach up and to her side, watching her transfer an item from one hand to the other, and so many other things, amazes me. These are things we spent hours and days and weeks working on and now she does them naturally.
Tera has worked so hard for so many months and when I see her accomplish something my heart wants to explode with pride. This past month she has been flying through a checklist of skills and every time she hits one, I want to share it with everyone. It's such a delicate balance of time as a family when we decide to just play and when we decide to play with purpose. It can be difficult when we just want to eat dinner and I realize after we've finished that I didn't sign as much as I should have or that I made something easier for her than I should have instead of encouraging her to do it herself. But when I see her show me where her nose is, and where her tummy is, and when we see her sign "more", and feed herself a whole meal, and take two or three crawling steps and then switch to her belly, and when we say no and she stops (if only temporarily), and when she recognizes her favorite stuffed animal and needs to take it out of her crib with her in the morning, and when I go into her room to pick her up when she wakes up in the morning and she's standing and smiling at me, I realize that all those hours we've spent practicing, and the hours I've spent worrying about not practicing, are worth it.
I want one thing for my daughter above everything else; happiness. I will never push her to do something that makes her unhappy and when I see her accomplish something that makes her happy, my own happiness will go, and has gone, right through the roof. She loves to play and all the skills she has learned make that playtime more enjoyable and so it is worth it.
So yes my daughter is amazing, and inspiring, and special and I've learned something in the past year. She is all of these things not because she was born with an extra chromosome; she has one but it doesn't define her. She is all of these things because that is her personality and that person that she is becoming and I couldn't be more proud of her.